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Weather Conference Consensus La Niña Winter Forecast

Categories: Weather Blog Guest Connection


The 28th Annual Oregon AMS Winter Weather Forecast Conference was live streamed Saturday, with leading weather authorities weighing in on the winter to come. All indicated we have a La Niña that appears to be growing stronger as we get closer to winter. La Niña generally means a colder, wetter winter for the Pacific Northwest, and above average snowpack in the Cascades. La Niña is very well explained by Shawn Weagle of the National Weather Service in his presentation.

Here are some of the high points from the presenters as they relate to this winter, with their presentations time coded. A big thank you to the Oregon AMS chapter for providing this forum for all interested in what kind of weather we can expect from this winter.

Shawn Weagle - NWS
(59 minute mark - 1 hour 25 minute mark)

  • Already a strong La Niña - high degree of confidence it will persist through the winter and spring.
  • Strong for snow in the Cascades - one to two feet (up to three feet) of snow above normal.
  • Stronger La Niña can set up for a snowier spring.

Strong La Nina's deliver big snow for the Cascades
NWS takeaways for 2021 Winter forecast include a good snow season in the Cascades

Kyle Dittmer - Hydrologist-Meteorologist. CRITFC Fisheries Management Department
(1 hour 27 minute mark  - 1 hour 52 minute mark)

  • PDO tends to amplify the ENSO signal - that means a La Niña should be colder, wetter and snowier!
  • Predicting snowpack at 119% of normal - with base building in December and January, and a good chance of big snows in March.
  • Five Portland snow events and Hood River snows in December and January.

Kyle Dittmer's summary looks great for snow this winter on Mt. Hood

Tanis Leach - OSU Climate Science Student - DAM Weather Broadcast
(1 hour 54 minute mark - 2 hour 12 minute mark)

  • Mountain snowpack 110 - 180% above normal.
  • Worst case scenario (or best case scenario) presented below with potential for 40-inches of snow IN PORTLAND this winter (as mentioned - the worst of the worst case scenarios.)

Tanis Leach summary of the upcoming La Nina Winter
Worst case - or perhaps best case - scenarios of a strong La Nina winter for Portland and the Northwest

Pete Parsons - Meteorologist - Oregon Department of Forestry
(2 hour 14 minute mark - 2 hour 44 minute mark)


  • Mountain snowfall should be at or above normal
  • Could see some extreme weather events

Pete Parson highlights of 2021 winter forecast