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NOAA’s Three Month El Nino Outlook: Early Months Of 2016 Likely See Rapid Snowmelt, Warmer, Drier
Posted on Friday, December 18, 2015 (PST)

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center this week issued a three-month outlook for El Nino weather pattern influences, showing well above average temperatures and below-average precipitation for the Pacific Northwest through March of 2016.


So despite recent heavy rain and snowfall in the Columbia Basin, the outlook indicates a weather trend similar to last year: rapid snowmelt and runoff, along with warmer than normal and dry weather in the early months of the year.


El Nino is a pattern of higher-than-normal temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is a re-occurring natural phenomenon with influences on local weather across North America and beyond.


“People the world over are feeling, or soon will feel, the effects of the strongest El Nino event since 1997-98, currently unfolding in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean,” states a press release issued this week by NASA. “New satellite observations are beginning to show scientists its impact on the distribution of rain, tropospheric ozone and wildfires around the globe.”


That was a message presented this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. The presentation included an observation that “atmospheric rivers” tend to intensify during strong El Nino events, likely bringing more precipitation to drought-stricken California.


However, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s three-month forecast, based on expected El Nino influences, forecasts drier and warmer-than-normal weather for the Pacific Northwest. That has been the consistent message from NOAA for the last few months.


More information on El Nino influences, including detailed weather maps, are available at:


For the next few days a series of storms will impact the Pacific Northwest. Stormy weather will continue to impact parts of the northwestern U.S. through the weekend with heavy rainfall, significant mountain snow, strong winds and flash flooding possible.


Check out the forecast maps at


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