Weather News

National Weather Service weighs in on if the February Freeze will return to Northwest

Western Washington is looking at a warm winter with some unknowns regarding rain and snow, according to NOAA’s long-range forecast for meteorological winter, issued Thursday, Oct. 17.

“It’s saying that it’s going to be warmer than normal. (But) it’s an equal chance of us seeing drier or wetter weather” from December through February, said Jake BeFlitch, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Seattle.

BeFlitch said that ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are neutral, meaning that there’s no El Niño or La Niña weather pattern to influence the Northwest’s winter.

In contrast, the Farmers’ Almanac predicts a chilly winter with normal precipitation, while the commercial forecasting service AccuWeather sees a warm and dry winter.

“These are three-month outlooks,” BeFlitch said. “It’s going to snow at Baker, it’s going to snow in the Cascades. We can’t rule out lowland snow,” he said.

“Last year, (the forecast) was actually similar,” and the February Freeze gripped Western Washington for weeks, he said.

“Some storms, if they line up in the right direction, we could see it again,” he said.

Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.