Portland had most of its winter weather during the first half of the winter last year but with an El Nino event scheduled for 2014-2015 the pattern will be on the wild side. Portland will get during and average winter gets about 6-7 inches of snow but this could be one of those wildcard types of winters ahead.
El Ninos-the big ones usually lead to warm and dry falls across the Pacific Northwest and below average snowpack due to a lower amount of storms including snow events. This is not good news because the Northwest just recovered from low snowpack the last few winters. The big February snow of 10-15 feet helped wipeout a snow and rain drought, this is not likey to repeat in an El Nino winter.
According to an AP story the scientific study shows El Nino disrupts farmimg and fishing and leads to an uptick in disease, such as malaria. The last El Nino of 1997-1998 cost about $3 billion in agricultural damage.
Snow lovers can hope that this El Nino meets the same fate as another budding El Nino in the Spring of 2012, It fizzled out later that summer and the El Nino watch was cancelled.
Compare the two charts below and we'll see if this El Nino watch is for real, unlike the one forecasted just a few years ago.
So with an El Nino looming what are the big factors right now are the most important to carve out the Winter of 2014-2015 in Portland? The two biggest will be El Nino and the southern jet stream or Sub Tropical Jet.
STJ = Sub Tropical Jet
AO = Arctic Oscillation
NAO = North Atlantic Oscillation
PNA = Pacific North American Teleconnection
The chart above shows warmer winter with a Moderate to Strong El Nino and we fell that is how this winter will play out in Portland and all of Oregon State. Snowfall can be tricky in spots but the overall thinking is below normal snowfall to the mountains and lowlands of the Pacific Northwest.
So what do we expect in Portland this winter? A warmer and drier winter and this will play out in a true Moderate to Strong El Nino. With most of the rain down in central and southern California this winter we'll see an above number of partly to even sunny days. This will allow for temps to sit above normal most of the winter esp. during the first half of the winter. We'll be updating all year long so check back as we get a clower look at the Winter of 2014-2015 in the Pacific Northwest.
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