Hello skiers and snowboarders,
Welcome back to a new season of NW snowfall forecasts and powder skiing.
No doubt you’ve heard of the strong El Nino looming in the central Pacific - this season will be full of surprises.
After the last three seasons of La Nina producing wonderful snow for the NW, a strong El Nino is growing, as promised last spring. El Nino is not a bust for the NW, but we will need to be more forgiving and flexible to maximize our fun in the snow.
This strong El Nino pattern will build on the existing background of weather/climate and ocean temperature patterns, which are always changing. That is why comparing it to other strong El Nino’s (like 1997-98, 1982-83 and 2015-16) is helpful, but not always a neat and tidy predictor. For example El Nino of 2015-16 did not fit the prediction and the NW did fine. NW snowfall doesn’t exactly repeat with every El Nino, but will have a familiar ring with other strong El Nino’s. That ring will see warmth (occasional high snow levels) and short dry spells. Long range seasonal forecasts are difficult and often unreliable because of the complexity of the atmosphere over time – but it’s the best we have. There may be a nudge from El Nino, but it does not dictate individual storms. There is no such thing as a specific “El Nino storm” – but you’ll hear that a lot.
There are storms patterns over time which reflect El Nino - like consistent snow storms in the southwestern US . But that is a pattern we saw a lot last year (2022-23) and it was decidedly not El Nino last season! It underlines the uncertainty of long-range forecasts
Don't worry the storms will come for the Northwest, but it may be a rough road. NW storms or storm cycles are what Powder Poobah is all about. We will direct you to the goods.
Joining Powder Poobah again this season are Andrea (marketing, YEAH - more giveaways?) and Michael - forecasting – thanks, so I can ski more.
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I’ll have another update with more details on the upcoming season in the weeks ahead as El Nino attempts to sway the early NW winter weather patterns.
Best to you,
Your Dear Leader,
Larry Schick – Meteorologist
The Exalted and Distinguished Imperial Grand Poohah of Powder
(The consultants advised me to spice up the title).
Below: The graphics and graphs show El Nino outlooks, impacts and observations.