El Nino Winter Predicted for Pacific Northwest

By Glen Farley

JISAO’s Nick Bond, the Washington State Climatologist, explains what an El Nino winter could look like for the Pacific Northwest.

With cooler weather and even rain this past weekend, some say it felt like autumn in August. As summer winds down, what’s heading our way this winter?

There’s a 70 percent chance of an El Nino winter, according to the Climate Prediction Center. That would mean warmer and drier temperatures for the months of December, January, and February.

Evidence of El Nino is already building in the central Pacific Ocean, as a long strand of warmer-than-normal water builds across the equator. For the Pacific Northwest, that involves a warmer winter, and leaves some wondering if that’s building on a warmer-than-normal summer?

“The weather we’ve been having this summer doesn’t determine what’s going to happen this winter,” says Nick Bond, Washington state’s climatologist with the University of Washington.

But Bond says the warmer waters don’t appear to be heading as far as the west coast of South America, a signal of a strong El Nino. If that warmer water stays located in the mid-Pacific, it suggests a more moderate El Nino.

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