Office of the Washington State Climatologist

Climate Outlook

What’s Next for the Pacific Northwest?

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO): El Niño

According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), a strong El Niño is currently present in the tropical equatorial Pacific Ocean. Average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are the largest over the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, and both the equatorial ocean and atmosphere are reflecting El Niño conditions. ENSO models are indicating very high chances (99%) that El Niño will persist through the January-March period. Washington winters tend to be warmer than normal during El Niño, and there are higher chances of a below normal snowpack by April 1. The ENSO phase is taken into account in the CPC outlooks featured below, as well as long-term trends and seasonal climate model output.

What does this mean for Washington in the coming months?

The CPC one month temperature outlook for December is uncertain. For both temperature and precipitation, there are equal chances of below, near, or above normal conditions. Equal chances means that there is a 33.3% chance that either of the three outcomes will occur.

The three-month outlook for December through February (DJF) has a high probability of above normal temperatures across all of Washington State, with the odds between 50 and 60% on the three-tiered scale. For DJF precipitation, there are slightly higher chances of below normal precipitation across the northeastern sliver of the state, covering parts of Pend Oreille, Stevens, Spokane, and Whitman counties. The rest of the state has equal chances of below, near, or above normal DJF precipitation.

Last Updated: 11/16/2023

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.

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