Arrow-right Camera


El Nino watch issued; could bring mild winter to NW

Mon., June 11, 2012, 10:47 a.m.

The Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Nino watch for re-emergence of warm water in the tropical Pacific Ocean later this year.

El Nino is associated with milder winter weather in the Pacific Northwest and a stronger storm track across Southern California.

The La Nina cooling in the tropics last winter has dissipated and water conditions in May were near normal, the center said in the El Nino watch issued last week.

La Nina is associated with colder, snowier winters in the Inland Northwest, although the La Nina earlier this year brought more rain than snow, especially during late winter and early spring.

The last El Nino in 2009-2010 brought relatively mild conditions with light amounts of snow across the region. Spokane had only 14.4 inches of snow compared to a normal season of about 45 inches of snow.

Climate models are indicating a likelihood that El Nino will surface at the end of summer and there is a 50 percent chance it will continue into the fall, the center said.

Today is expected to be the nicest day of the week with sun and highs in the low 70s. Thunderstorms are possible after 11 a.m. on Tuesday and into Tuesday night.

A mix of showers and clouds will prevail after that with highs in the 60s and lows mainly in the middle to upper 40s.

There are 11 comments on this story »