By SCOTT ELNES
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS METEOROLOGIST
I hear you, all you powder junkies…I hear you every day.
You ask me what the powder forecast is for this winter and more often than not, I tell you to just flip a coin and pack layers.
But this year, Nick Bond, the Washington State climatologist, and a regional climate expert, tells me we have a little birdy in the tropical pacific that may be whispering in our ear.
“We look at what’s going on there because that tilts the odds for one kind of winter weather versus the other,” Bond said. “It doesn’t absolutely dictate it, but it kind of effects that.”
The little girl known as La Nina is predicted to wake from her slumber this winter. Leading to cooler waters along the equator.
“And that influences the kind of pressure and wind patterns across much of the globe including the North Pacific and over the Pacific Northwest,” he said.
It creates high pressure out in the Pacific that spins clockwise in the atmosphere, and creates a virtual Pez dispenser of storms from up my former neck of the woods, Alaska.
“We get more storms out of the northwest, out of the Gulf of Alaska, coming into the Pacific Northwest than usual and so those are the storms the winter sports enthusiasts really like,” Bond said.
These storms tend to bring higher moisture and the necessary chill to lead to more freshies, and long lines up the Cascade Lakes Highway.
But beware, Mother Nature doesn’t always put all of her cards on the table at once.
“And this is an important point, that chances are, the early part of the fall will continue to be on the warm side, and I wouldn’t want people to get too discouraged if this season is kind of slow to get started,” Bond said.
If your eyes glaze over when I talk “face shots” or “pow pow”, if you see winter as purely an annoyance between fall and spring, let me pass along one key reason why you too should be happy to hear this forecast.
“Even if you’re not a winter sports enthusiast, to have a good snowpack in the in the winter is obviously a real benefit to the Pacific Northwest,” Bond said. “And from hydropower point of view, agricultural, water supplies, just the health of the forests and streams and so forth.”
As an obsessed XC skier, I don’t really care much about what the forecast for winter is because I live by the old Alaskan phrase, “There is no bad weather. Just poor clothing choices.”
“I think it’s going to be a good year, and I’m guardedly optimistic,” Bond said. “We’re liable to have some pretty big storm events that really pile up some snow in the mountains.”