(October 24, 2021) -- It’s official - we have now entered into La Niña conditions that are forecast to grow stronger through the rest of fall and winter, which is generally a good thing for our Mt. Hood snowpack. Meteorologists presented their winter forecast at Saturday’s virtual Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society winter weather conference and there was consensus that this should be a good (if not great) winter for snow play enthusiasts.
KOIN TV Coverage of the Conference
La Niña winters generally bring above-average precipitation and below-average temperatures to the Northwest - which is a great combination for a deeper-than-normal snowpack. There is always a question of timing and exactly when the snow will fall, but over the course of the winter months, forecasters expect to see more snow than normal.
Among the forecasters who presented were Rebecca Muessle, Meteorologist, National Weather Service - Portland Office; Pete Parsons, Meteorologist, Oregon Department of Forestry; Kyle Dittmer, Hydrologist / Meteorologist - Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC); and Charlie Phillips, Meteorologist, Puget Sound Energy.
Muessle established that we are definitely in a La Niña weather pattern, which is forecast to remain (and even grow stronger) through the winter months. (Muessle's forecast starts at the 40-minute mark in the video below).
Parsons summarized that this could be the coldest winter since 1978, that Portland could have snow at Christmas and there should be average to above-average snow on the mountain. (Parson's forecast starts at the 60-minute mark in the video below.)
Dittmer sees a lot of snow at the higher elevations above 4,000 feet, and boldly forecasts a 140% of normal snow with big snow months from December through March. (Dittmer's forecast starts at the 90-minute mark in the video below.)
Phillips says there is high confidence in above-average mountain snow in the Pacific NW and we are unlikely to experience another record dry spring like last year. (Phillip's forecast starts at the 2-hour and 20-minute mark in the video below.)
You can view the entire conference presentation on the AMS Facebook page or just watch it on the video below.