Colder and wetter-than-average conditions
persisted across the Pacific Northwest in November, with a La Nina weather
pattern becoming well established and strengthening during the month, and the
outlook is for much of the same going into March.
Those conditions starkly contrast with
November weather and the outlook for much of the rest of the contiguous United
States, particularly the Southwest, where Arizona and New Mexico had
From January through November nationwide, it
was the third warmest on record, including the seventh warmest month of
November on record. But again, the Pacific Northwest stood out from most of the
rest of the country with near-average temperatures from January through
November. Those conditions persisted during the month of November in the
Northwest, along with above-average precipitation.
Notably, the Pacific Northwest lies outside of
any drought designation, with the exception of a portion of Northwest Montana.
But 26 percent of the country is considered to be in drought by the U.S.
The powerful La Nina influence, driven by
cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial and eastern
Pacific, has taken hold with forecasters having higher confidence in their
three-month outlook models.
“We are forecasting La Nina conditions to
persist through the winter,” said Brad Pugh, a NOAA Climate Prediction Center
meteorologist, during a Thursday teleconference. That is expected to translate
to higher-than-average temperatures and drier conditions from the Southwest
into Texas over the next three months.
Conversely, Pugh added, below-normal
temperatures and above-average precipitation are favored across the Pacific
Northwest and into the Great Lake region through March. Notably, the highest
confidence for wetter-than-average conditions for the next three months is in
the Northern Rockies of Idaho and western Montana.
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook predicts the
entire Pacific Northwest, including western Montana, will be void of drought
conditions over the next three months.