What's Next for the Pacific Northwest?
Neutral ENSO conditions still exist in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, according to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC). The equatorial Pacific Ocean sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) are currently above normal across the entire basin, and also when averaged over the last 4 weeks. The atmospheric wind anomalies that support an El Niño have been very slow to develop. Models are still predicting the development of a weak El Niño this winter, with chances exceeding 60%. However, the chances of neutral conditions persisting throughout the whole season are about 35%. The "El Niño Watch" that the Climate Prediction Center issued on March 6 is still in effect.
What does this mean for Washington in the coming months?
The CPC outlooks are reflecting the expected development of weak El Niño conditions as well as guidance from dynamical seasonal forecast models. The CPC three-class January-February-March (JFM) temperature outlook has increased chances of above normal temperatures for the entire state, with chances of warmer than normal temperatures exceeding 60% on a three-class system for most of the state. For JFM precipitation, there are increased chances of below normal precipitation statewide, with greater chances of less precipitation in northeastern WA.
The outlook for February-March-April (FMA) is very similar to the JFM outlook. The three-class outlook is calling for increased chances of above normal temperatures statewide. For precipitation, there are increased chances of below normal precipitation for the entire state.
Last Updated: 12/18/2014
Climate Prediction Resources
NWS Local 3-Month Temperature Outlook
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