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La Niña forecast for this winter

Categories: Guest Connection Weather Blog

Enjoying powder in the midst of a La Nina winter at Mt. Hood Meadows - Richard Hallman photoThe forecast for this winter looks favorable for an above average snow year - and that’s good news for skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, cross country skiers … and salmon! According to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, La Niña emerged during the August-October season and is expected to last through the 2021-22 season. A transition from ENSO-neutral to La Niña is favored in the next couple of months, with a 70-80% chance of La Niña during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2021-22.

Typical La Nina weather pattern map NOAAClimate.govTypical La Niñas bring wetter and colder winters to the Pacific Northwest, which usually means a deeper snowpack than average. Last season was a La Niña, and Meadows measured 454 inches of snowfall for the season, topping our average of 430 inches.

The forecast is supported by monthly temperature and precipitation forecasts generated by ClimateToolBox.org, a forecasting tool developed by members of the Applied Climate Science Lab at the University of California Merced and the UW Hydro group at the University of Washington.

Cimate Tool Box forecast for temperatures at Mt. Hood MeadowsCimate Tool Box forecast for precipitation at Mt. Hood MeadowsLooking out six months, temperatures ranges mimic historical numbers (which is good) and precipitation surges past the norm in December and January (which is GREAT).
This is all speculation at this point and the forecasts will become clearer as we get closer to winter, culminating with the annual AMS Winter Weather Forecast Conference in October.

On a related note - pass sales have steadily picked up with a noticeable surge this last week. Perhaps the La Niña forecast is getting noticed, or maybe the possibility of dealing with COVID-19 restrictions and limitations this winter is sinking in. But whatever the reason, the pace of pass sales has increased.