“Wettest Start to a Strong El Nino Season on Record in Pacific Northwest” | by LA Times

SnowBrains | | WeatherWeather
Whistler, B.C. Yesterday. photo: coast mountain photography
Whistler, B.C. Yesterday. photo: coast mountain photography

“Of all the years in which there was a strong El Niño present in the tropical Pacific Ocean, this is the wettest start to any of those years that we’ve observed in the Pacific Northwest, both in Portland and Seattle.” – Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University told the LA Times

The LA Times just wrote a great article about the big, wet season in the Pacific Northwest so far.  Mt. Baker has a 65-96″ snowpack right now, Whistler has already gotten 134″ of snow this season, and snow is in the forecast everyday this week in northern Washington.

Mt. Baker ski area forecast. image: noaa, today
Mt. Baker ski area forecast. image: noaa, today

The article discusses the recent heavy precipitation in the Pacific Northwest, the fact that El Nino hasn’t showed up in California yet, how the mountains of California would need 2.5 to 3 times their average precipitation to break the current drought, and how we’ll know when El Nino arrives as storms will be riding the subtropical jet stream.

Monthly sea surface temperature in the Niño 3.4 region of the tropical Pacific compared to the long-term average for all moderate-to-strong El Niño years since 1950, showing how 2015 (black line) compares to other strong events. Climate.gov graph based on ERSSTv4 temperature data.
Monthly sea surface temperature in the Niño 3.4 region of the tropical Pacific compared to the long-term average for all moderate-to-strong El Niño years since 1950, showing how 2015 (black line) compares to other strong events. Climate.gov graph based on ERSSTv4 temperature data.

“Even though we have this really high confidence in a wet January, February, March, that does not mean that we have high confidence that the drought will be over by the end of winter.  These long-running precipitation deficits are just so big that they’re almost insurmountable in a single year.” – Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University told the LA Times

 

“The key season is really still to come.  California so far has been somewhat normal in the northern part of the state and drier than average in the south.” – Mike Halpert, the Climate Prediction Center’s deputy director told the LA Times

 

“This is not an El Niño storm yet.  The El Niño storms will be riding a subtropical jet stream. It’ll look like a convoy coming straight out of the west.” – Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge told the LA Times

Yesterday's storm in the Pacific Northwest was big.
Yesterday’s storm in the Pacific Northwest was big.

Read the LA Times article here:

Wettest start to an El Niño season in Pacific Northwest as storms hit California


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