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 entire basin when averaged over the last 4 weeks, but the weekly anomalies show below normal temperatures emerging in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Models are finally backing off predicting a weak El Niño this winter, with chances of about 60% for the December through February period. After that (January through March), the chances of an El Niño developing or neutral conditions remaining are equal at about 50%. Later 3-month periods into the spring and summer have higher chances of neutral conditions. 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 still reflecting the possible development of weak El Niño conditions, but the certainty in the outlooks for the next two 3-month periods is less. The CPC three-class February-March-April (FMA) temperature outlook has increased chances of above normal temperatures for the entire state, with chances of warmer than normal temperatures highest in the western half of the state. For FMA precipitation, there are increased chances of below normal precipitation statewide, with greater chances of less precipitation over the northern portion of the state.
The outlook for March-April-May (MAM) 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: 1/15/2015
Climate Prediction Resources
NWS Local 3-Month Temperature Outlook
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