Weather Blog

Latest winter outlook gives some hope for skiers

Latest winter outlook gives some hope for skiers

We're about halfway through the heart of the October-to-March wet season and it's been anything but for this year.

Not only are many cities well behind for the year in the rainfall column -- Portland is almost 7 inches behind for the year -- but the mountains are reeling with some resorts only about 40 percent of their normal snowfall.

And the short term forecast is not good with another long, dry stretch looming to end December. We've already had several dry streaks in October, November and December with perhaps another several day streak in the offing now.

But! There is some hope for skiers -- and maybe it'll even translate to the lowlands?!?

The new 30- and 90-day forecasts came out last week and suggest there is a slightly better than average chance we'll have a cool winter and early spring -- maybe enough to recover some of the snowpack?

Here is the 30-day forecast map for temperature for January -- "EC" means equal chances of above, normal, or below normal temperatures (precipitation showed the same thing.)

But the 90 day January-March map offers some better hope, with the cooler than normal swaths painted over Western Washington (Precipitation was still "EC")

Now, these maps may be a bit confusing over what exactly they mean because they show a weighted odds of what might happen, so the folks at NOAA have created a tool to localize those maps for exact cities.

Check out this site, which gives the data in clear percentages -- this link is for Portland:

This shows that Portland has a 35% chance of a cooler than normal Jan-Mar, a 34% chance of normal, and just a 31% chance of a warmer than normal Jan-Mar period. The odds of cooler weather are even better in the March-May and April-June period with a 38% chance of a cooler period and just a 28-29% chance of a warmer period.

If you want to know what "normal" is -- just click the chart and you get something like this that really spells it out:

Or you can click on "Table Text" there and get the bare-bones text data like this:

No matter how you look at the data, it should at least give some hope for skiers that at least the odds are in our favor to perhaps maybe get a mid-late winter push of mountain snow. We'll cross our fingers!