SPOKANE, Wash.-- This year, Tom Sherry is predicting more snow than average usual and possibly below average temperatures this winter.
That is because there is about a 60 percent chance of a weak La Nina winter. That means the sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean is cooler than normal.
Tom said this year will either see a La Nina winter or an average winter. While a La Nina winter would bring above average snow fall and average below average temperatures, the average snowfall in Spokane is still 40 inches.
“That’s another thing, we’re talking about storms that don’t even exist, they’re not even born, that’s why the computer models are so important,” explained Tom.
Last winter was a La Nina winter. The Inland Northwest saw about 60 inches of snowfall.
This winter, Tom predicts the snowfall will be in-between average and last year’s precipitation. He said he thinks the Inland Northwest could see 50 inches of snowfall in 2017.
An early winter storm in November already brought almost seven inches to Spokane in the first week of the month. The average for November is 7.4 inches and as of November 6 there has been 6.9 inches of snowfall.
Tom said the La Nina winter is a good thing for the region.
“It saved us last winter because the summer before we had a terrible drought. So we got this great winter last year with an incredible amount of snow in the mountains that really flushed all the streams, lakes and reservoirs and recharged the ground water,” said Tom.
Tom said he thinks there will be a good amount of snow in the mountains this year.
“If you’re a downhill skier I think you’re in luck,” said Tom.
Last winter was the first winter in five years the region saw above average snowfall.