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Weather Classroom: Comparing NOAA and local Winter Weather Forecast

Meteorlogist Thomas Patrick explains what the NOAA winter weather forecast means for Spokane and how La Nina affects our weather pattern.
Credit: KREM 2 Weather

SPOKANE, Wash. — On October 15, NOAA released their winter weather forecast for the U.S. For the Inland Northwest, it could very well be a cold and snowy winter for us, not even including the snow we already had this October.

NOAA's the outlook is broken up into three parts: temperature, precipitation, and drought. The outlook for this upcoming winter follows the trend of a typical La Nina winter for the county.

Credit: KREM 2 Weather

La Nina is when the water temperatures around the Equator in the Pacific Ocean are below normal, which they are right now and predicted to last through February. That anomaly, like its counter part El Nino, influences the jet streams and how their positioned over North America  - La Nina often leads to colder and wetter weather for the Pacific Northwest.

With that being said, for the Spokane area - NOAA's forecast favors slightly colder than average temps and above average precipitation, which will likely mean more snow. Additionally, The drought will improve, but that's to be expected with the winter being our wet season anyways.

Credit: KREM 2 Weather

Meanwhile, the southern U.S. will get drier and warmer than average weather. 

But historically, La Nina winters favor that cold and snowy trend to an even greater degree than NOAA's broad, national-scale prediction.

Since 2000, we've had 9 La Nina winters, and 6 of those were snowier than average, including the record breaking winter in 2008-2009. So it would be fair to say that about 60 to 70% of La Nina winters will lead to more snow for the area.

Credit: KREM 2 Weather

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Weather Classroom is produced and broadcasted by KREM Meteorologist Thomas Patrick is you can watch and chat live on his Facebook page Thursdays at 1 p.m. Pacific Time.


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