Not a Typical “La Nina” Winter So Far

6pm Monday

Today wasn’t such a bad day with scattered light showers and a few sunbreaks.  No heavy rain, but it was our 8th day with measurable rain in P-Town

Temperatures were mild once again, our 13th day at/above 50 degrees in Portland.

Look at the change from last year!  The first 3 weeks of January have been the warmest in 12 years

This winter (beginning December 1st) has been a bit warmer and drier than average, not what we would expect in a La Nina winter.  Obviously a dramatic change the rest of this month and February could change that to “wet & cool”, but there’s no sign that is about to happen, at least the “cool” part.  There will be plenty of rain the next few days as a series of systems move inland.  And plenty of snow in the Cascades too!  Check out our 7 Day Forecast for Government Camp and Mt. Hood Ski Areas.  This could be the most snow we’ve seen in a week so far this winter!  30-50″ is possible by next Monday/Tuesday

What about in the lowlands?  We’ve only seen one episode this winter where the snow level was close to the lowlands; those 3-6 hours on Christmas Eve when we had the beautiful snow falling in the metro area.  There is no other time we’ve had it in our forecast and remember in the Willamette Valley you’ve seen nothing.   But there ARE two periods in the next 10 days in which we’ll see snow come down into the foothills, and maybe even higher hills in the metro area.  That’ll be this Thursday night/Friday AM and around Tuesday/Wednesday of next week.  You can see it on the ECMWF ensemble model map of 500mb height deviation from average.  First for Thursday you see the below average heights over the West Coast

Then for next Tuesday, the 30th…the same thing

So it appears we’ll wrap up January with at least some weather action…lots of rain and lots of mountain snow.  But what do we see BEYOND the next 7 days?

All models agree that we’re going “back to December”.  By that I mean some sort of upper-level ridging developing just west of the western coast of North America.  Drier than normal seems like a good bet after next Tuesday/Wednesday.  But EXACTLY where the ridge sets up is critical to our weather here.  If the ridge is quite close to us, as the ECMWF is showing right now for Thursday February 1st, we’re headed into an unusually dry period with mild temperatures for early February.

You can see that in the 15 day forecast for 24 hour precipitation from the ECMWF ensembles, see how the average drops dramatically after early next week

But just a slight movement to the west would allow cold arctic or modified arctic air to surge south through Western Canada.  Notice the 18z GFS has the ridge farther west, which could leave the “back door open”

Last night’s monthly run of the ECMWF shows the ridging very strong & very close to us in the week ending the 4th of February

And even stronger from the 5th through 12th of February.

Check out the precipitation departure maps for weeks 2-3-4 of that run…extremely dry:

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If that happens then winter is pretty much over.  That pattern would give us lots of sunshine and highs in the 50s.  That seems too simple and would be a strange start to the last month of a La Nina winter.

My gut feeling is that something is up and the ridging could at least briefly move farther offshore.  That would give us another “surprise” like we saw around Christmas with cold air sneaking in from the north.  Most likely that would happen in the first week of February.

For the rest of January though it’s all about rain and mountain snow.  Try to stay dry.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

33 Responses to Not a Typical “La Nina” Winter So Far

  1. Sprayandpay says:

    Perhaps it’s the corn syrup in all our foods (which are banned in European nations) that make people dumb and fat.

  2. Sprayandpay says:

    The weather couldn’t POSSIBLY be modified to suit government agendas despite copious amounts of patents and evidence if people got off their smartphone games and actually researched for themselves which for some odd reason is HARD to do in America.

    People in India the most dumbest/idiotic person is at level with high school kid in America which shows how far our standards have slipped.

  3. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Hmm, the GFS keeps flip flopping. It looks like it wants to put colder air our way again. Hopefully it maybe a trend 🙂

  4. Roland Derksen says:

    Yesterday I saw a pretty good amount of sunshine- today, it’s back to the grindstone of grey and wet. Just 8 more days of this wretched month left. I want to see that ridge in February!

  5. WEATHERDAN says:

    Why should this Winter have been a surprise to anyone. Climate change has caused a warming trend in both our Winters and Summers. I prefer a cold Winter but I don’t have a choice. Winters like last year will.become less and less common as time goes by. Get used to it. Peace.

    • Anonymous says:

      Global warming is a hoax

      • geo says:

        Climate change is not!

      • W7ENK says:

        Global Warming is indeed real, happening, and observable, there is no denying that. After all, we are still coming out of the most recent Ice Age, the one that officially marked the end of the the Pleistocene Era, so of course the Earth’s climate is still warming.

    • Sprayandpay says:

      Your dealing with Boboklins here on this blog. https://d1u5p3l4wpay3k.cloudfront.net/zelda_gamepedia_en/thumb/5/53/BotW_Bokoblin_Artwork.png/300px-BotW_Bokoblin_Artwork.png?version=9f1cae3feddeef544457ce8c08db4c07 Your preaching to the choir here.

      However I do agree with you on many ways. We can pray and hope but that won’t stop the climate from changing. One thing I’d love to see is instead of banning cars we should form (car trains) where cars use links to hook up. My idea back in the 90s was magnetic but now it can be electronic where the cars form a train at certain points and a driver (perhaps a computer) takes over and then goes 100mph with a bunch of cars connected following so you don’t do any driving.

      Once you get as close to your destination as possible you tell it to unlink and you drive your own way which solves the problem of public transportation not going enough places and you still have your freedom to go on your own schedule.

      These cars having that ability to link would reduce accidents too and insurance rates.etc. You won’t be without your ability to drive where you want to go either nor be far from a charging station. When an electric car dies it becomes a Tesla brick.

    • Sprayandpay says:

      My reply is meant for you Weather Dan as I like your post.

      Your dealing with the IQ of Boboklins here on this blog. https://d1u5p3l4wpay3k.cloudfront.net/zelda_gamepedia_en/thumb/5/53/BotW_Bokoblin_Artwork.png/300px-BotW_Bokoblin_Artwork.png?version=9f1cae3feddeef544457ce8c08db4c07 Your preaching to the choir here.

      However I do agree with you on many ways. We can pray and hope but that won’t stop the climate from changing. One thing I’d love to see is instead of banning cars we should form (car trains) where cars use links to hook up. My idea back in the 90s was magnetic but now it can be electronic where the cars form a train at certain points and a driver (perhaps a computer) takes over and then goes 100mph with a bunch of cars connected following so you don’t do any driving.

      Once you get as close to you

  6. That Christmas snow wasn’t a “surprise” for me; forecasts had been hinting at the possibility for much of a week up my way. And from what I can remember as the event got closer the models got more and more consistent in forecasting at least some snow (though the picture kept changing as to how much; everything from just flakes in the air with no accumulations to several inches).

  7. Lee Wilson says:

    Well, if we had a wind turbine , we would be sitting on free power lol planning to order one up.

    A small wind turbine of 1 kW would do…

    Winds are starting to kick up.

    I call foul play..seems COWLITZ PUD..made it more difficult for nature to take out the power..

    And..what do you mean by dryer?
    I sink in the yard as I walk out in it..

    Well I’ll give a few more minutes on the live stream.
    I was hoping to get the branches falling off…but…nature is not cooperating lol. Every time I turn the camera on…the wind dies…so not cool.

    Meh..maybe I’ll just leave it to play through and see what happens.. After all the storm just started.

    And for the record…I would count ..”Dry” winter as 4 consecutive weeks with out rain.

    • Sprayandpay says:

      Hope the libs don’t sue your life away for those poor little birdies being sucked in even though it’s not your fault. They promoted wind turbines to the point of screaming and yelling during the Bush era and now they want to ban them because of birds dying. :p Good grief!

  8. pappoose in scappoose says:

  9. boydo3 says:

    Mountain snow would be good. 🙂

  10. Paul D says:

    Ripped off again. This is getting annoying.

    • W7ENK says:

      Alaska called. They have your ideal climate. You should move there and check it out!

    • Sprayandpay says:

      If you know where our climate is going you won’t feel “ripped” off. There is garbage of microscopic pieces of plastic bigger then the state of Texas floating around in the central Pacific.

      What that does is it causes currents to slow or stagnate to get around the weird junk. When most people think of garbage they think of pop bottles and things we throw away but this is none of that. This is really really tiny pieces of plastic which doesn’t look like anything we would put out there unless it was possibly by design to disrupt ocean currents.

      When ocean currents are disrupted that makes the jet stream steer wrong or get stuck in patterns instead of moving like it should and then that causes parts of the ocean to heat up (warmer then surrounding areas).

      BTW:When you see the ocean being (red hot) on the map it doesn’t mean it’s boiling. It means it’s simply warmer then the surrounding waters but it does have an impact on where storm tracks go.

      It’s a scientific fact not an opinion that the trash is there and causing damage.

  11. JohnD says:

    Yep! Thanks Mark!

  12. Jake in Gresham says:

    So, one cookie in the cookie jar. A one if. And the bottom of the cliff has, let’s see. A full on barbecue. Throws fishing line down the cliff.

  13. ocpaul says:

    Sure hope your ‘gut’ is right.

    • Ashley Watson says:

      Mark,
      That was the most profound statement I’ve heard you make in your career. Could you elaborate on that

      • Mark Nelsen says:

        It was quite detailed wasn’t it?

        • Ashley Watson says:

          I guess I was just wondering if that statement was based on what you said about it being to easy for the last month of a la Nina winter or was there something else that’s affecting you gut feeling? I don’t mind us having not as good a year as last year but this year is absolutely ridiculous

        • Sprayandpay says:

          Wait till we actually have a strong El Nino! Perhaps that will buck the trend but the garbage in the ocean is going to remain until we clean it up.

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