October 1, 2010 in City, Climate change, Region

Winter could be a whopper, forecasters say

Seattle Times

The most intense La Niña conditions since 1955 are brewing near the equator, raising the odds of a wild winter in the Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times reports.

Meteorologists say more rain, colder temperatures and bigger snowstorms are likely.

“There’s the potential for whoppers — but no guarantees,” Washington state Climatologist Nick Bond said Thursday at a National Weather Service briefing.

The snow that paralyzed much of the region during the winter of 2008-2009 is one example of what a La Niña pattern can produce.

“La Niña winters are snowy winters,” said Brad Colman, National Weather Service meteorologist-in-charge for Seattle. “Skiers and departments of transportation should be paying attention.”

The flip side of the more-famous El Niño pattern, La Niñas occur when the ocean near the equator becomes colder than usual. Current temperatures are the coldest for this time of year since the Eisenhower administration.

Computer models predict the pattern will continue, and possibly strengthen, throughout the season, Colman said.

Read the full story here.

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