Punxsutawney Phil, the infamous forecasting groundhog, saw his shadow. For the much of the eastern third of the United States, that means six more weeks of winter. For the Pacific Northwest, it means exactly the opposite this year!
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center's February Outlook shows a "bulls-eye" of warmer than normal weather (A stands for above average)over the Pacific Northwest; while the bulls-eye of cooler weather (B means below average...and generally more winter precipitation) is over the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and South. The distribution of warm and cooler weather follows a typical El Niño pattern.
This prediction also matches up with the jet stream or "storm track" forecast the next two to three weeks. It shows the storm track pointing mainly south toward Southern California; and the polar jet curving up and around Alaska- leaving our area drier than normal as well.
The downside: The upcoming Winter Olympics will look more like the Spring Olympics! Sparse snow for ski season. If we don't start making up some of our snow pack deficit over the next three months, we could be staring at a water supply shortage this summer. However, it's too early to tell.Stay tuned.