Office of the Washington State Climatologist

Climate Outlook

What’s Next for the Pacific Northwest?

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO): La Niña Conditions

According to the Climate Prediction (CPC), neutral La Niña conditions remain present with below normal sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) between the west-central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Near-surface easterly winds are above normal as consistent with La Niña leading to enhanced convection in the western Pacific and suppressed convection in the central Pacific. Over the past month, SSTs have warmed in the western Pacific with little change for the rest of the basin. The principal El Niño index, NINO 3.4, has risen to -0.65 indicating a weak La Nina. ENSO forecast models favor a return to neutral conditions by April-May-June with a fairly high confidence of 60%.  Interestingly, models are hinting a return of La Nina in the fall, but ENSO models tend to gain much more accuracy after the spring.

What does this mean for Washington in the coming months?

Similar to February, the CPC one month outlook for March has increased chances of below normal temperatures statewide with confidence sitting in the 40-50% range. The precipitation outlook is a mixed bag with slightly increased chances of above normal precipitation in the eastern reaches of Washington, and equal chances of above, below, and near-to normal precipitation for the rest of the state.

The three-month outlook for March through May has increased chances of below normal temperatures for the entire state with higher odds further north. The precipitation outlook mimics the temperature outlook with increased chances of above normal precipitation statewide, but higher chances in the northern half.

Last Updated: 2/18/2021

Climate Prediction Resources

NWS Local 3-Month Temperature Outlook
Select a location plotted on the map to view the local outlook.

Quillayute Port Angeles Hoquiam Centralia Olympia Seattle-Tacoma Mount Vernon Astoria, OR Hillsboro, OR Portland, OR Troutdale, OR Government Camp, OR Hood River, OR The Dalles, OR Pendleton, OR Richland Walla Walla Lewiston, ID Pullman Spokane Republic Omak Ross Dam Bellingham Plain Cle Elum Mt. Rainier-Paradise Yakima Ellensburg Wenatchee Ephrata

The links below provide access to global and regional climate predictions.