Where’s The Sunshine & Warmth?

The image above (albeit not that easy to read here) is the latest Euro model output. It continues to show one weather system after another hanging around the Pacific Northwest over the next 7 days or so. The devil will be in the details, but it is safe to say that there won’t likely be any prolonged warm weather coming in the next week. La Nina is fading and one would expect that conditions will return to normal sooner or later. However, with last winters La Nina being the strongest (according to the MEI index) since 1955, anything is possible. March through June is the time of the year when ENSO models (La Nina and El Nino) experience the most “noise” in their forecasts for the coming months. In other words, we are right in the middle of the “dead zone” right now. ENSO models typically lock back on to a good forecast in July. Until then just about anything goes.

The image above is the latest output from the CPC, which gives us a neutral ENSO signal going into next winter. That means neither La Nina nor El Nino. As my good friend George Taylor calls it, LA NADA! I like that term and I also like what kind of weather we can see in a La Nada winter, which may be coming to a window near you soon! But until then, as much as we all want to see sunny and warm weather return, I once again think about 1954 and 1993, where non-stop rains and cold weather frequented the Pacific Northwest all summer long. Will summer 2011 be a repeat of last year? Will it be even colder and wetter? After all, we are breaking records all over the place this spring, just not the kind that most of us want to hear about. It is so cold and wet that my cat won’t even go outside!

Oregon AMS member Phil Welke pointed out that Hillsboro and Portland are both very close to setting yet another record, this time for the least number of 60 degree days in a given calendar year from January 1st through May 31st. Looks like Hillsboro already has this dubious record in the bag, and Portland may also reach the top spot in the coming days. Not a record that any of us are to excited to see, but a record none the less. For those of us who actually thrive on weather no matter what mother nature sends our way, a -PDO signal coupled with a neutral or slightly -SST signal, coupled with coming off of a 3 year period of nearly zero solar activity may just end up being the weather equivalent of the baseball world series. Although not entirely scientific, I think the door is wide open this coming fall and winter for another “15 year return cycle windstorm” and perhaps another good snow dump at low elevations. Now that is a long ways out from now and things may shift a bit in the coming months. Let’s see what the ENSO model output (above) looks like come July. Until then, stay warm and dry!

Stay tuned!
Steve Pierce

Scroll to top