NOAA released their LAST seasonal forecast at about 8 a.m. Eastern today before the start of the winter season. The forecast is similar to those of the last few months, showing a mild La Nina pattern with above average precipitation and temperatures in the Northwest U.S. and B.C. If anything, they show a bit more certainty in the presence of some cold air and arctic storms. It is also important to note that NOAA releases the most reliable long-term, continental forecasts available to the public.
These maps are a bit different in their interpretation. The correct methodology for reading the maps shown below:
- EC = Equal chance of average (33% above, 33% average, 33 % below)
- 33% above = 64% above, 33% average, 3% below.
- 40% above = 74% above, 33% average, 3% below.
- Opposite for 33%, 40% below, etc.
Most places in the Northwest including Washington, B.C., northern Idaho, western Montana, and western Alberta are looking at only a 3% chance of below average precipitation, and only a 3% chance of above average temperatures. So its looking good for at least an average snowpack, which, in the northwest, is a great snowpack with lots of powder days. Most resorts in the country actually fall into the EC category for precipitation, so winter may turn out to be fruitful for places like California, Utah, and Colorado as well.
December, January, February
January, February, March
February, March, April
March, April, May