Weather News

Here’s what could be in store for the Northwest winter

A mild winter is in store for Northwest Washington, according to AccuWeather, a worldwide commercial weather forecasting service.

Despite what has seemed like an early fall in Western Washington, meteorologist Paul Pastelok said Thursday that September’s mild weather could persist.

“Strong high pressure over the region is likely to lead to drier conditions and above-normal temperatures,” said Pastelok, who is AccuWeather’s long-range forecaster.

“I can see some places this winter in the Northwest being about 20 to 40 percent lower on the snowfall compared to average,” he said in a post at AccuWeather.com

In contrast, the Farmers’ Almanac predicted a colder, wetter winter in its forecast released Aug. 26.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will release its “meteorological winter” forecast later this month, CPC spokeswoman Lauren Gaches said.

But for now, NOAA’s online forecast models show a warmer winter with normal rainfall.

El Niño and La Niña are in a neutral phase, according to online NOAA data.

Even so, snow fell over the North Cascades last weekend and some Washington passes received snow.

Mount Baker Highway remains clear and passable to Artist Point, the state Department of Transportation said Thursday at its website.

Pastelok said lower rainfall will hurt winter sports in the Cascades and could boost electricity prices in the spring.

“The deficit is likely to hinder the region’s ski season, and have knock-on effects into springtime,” he said. “For those who rely on hydropower: If water levels are down, it could have an effect on cost.”

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