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 above normal across the western and central basins when averaged over the last 4 weeks, and the eastern basin has been near average. The weekly anomalies show below normal temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, and above normal SSTs elsewhere in the equatorial Pacific. Despite the El Niño signature in the ocean temperatures, the atmosphere has not coupled with the ocean for El Niño development. Models are still holding on to predicting a weak El Niño with chances between 50 and 60% through the February through April 3-month period. After that, the chances of an El Niño developing or neutral conditions remaining are equal at about 50%. The "El Niño Watch" that the Climate Prediction Center issued on March 6, 2014 is still in effect.
What does this mean for Washington in the coming months?
The CPC three-class spring (March-April-May; MAM) temperature outlook has increased chances of above normal temperatures for the entire state, with chances of warmer than normal temperatures highest in the western third of the state. The seasonal forecast models that help inform the CPC outlooks are very consistent in their prediction for warmer than normal temperatures through May and beyond. For MAM precipitation, there are increased chances of below normal precipitation for the western half of the state. Eastern WA has equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal precipitation for spring.
The outlook for April-May-June (AMJ) is also calling for increased chances of above normal temperatures statewide. For precipitation, there are equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal precipitation for the period.
Last Updated: 2/19/2015
Climate Prediction Resources
NWS Local 3-Month Temperature Outlook
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