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
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 http://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps