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Forecasters predict another mild S.E. winter

Pete Parsons, a forecaster for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and a regular at the forum who couldnt make it this year, nonetheless sent in his forecast - and as this slide shows, he expects a cold and stormy December this year. Well know soon if hes right.Last winter, the panelists in the OMSI auditorium appearing for the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, “What Will Winter Be Like” forecasting event thought that it would be pretty average and pretty unexciting.

As KPTV meteorologist Mark Nelson put it, in his annual recap to start the meeting, “Last winter was the most boring one in eight years – it essentially ended in late January.”

It appears pretty much the same conditions prevail over the central Pacific, where El Niños and La Niñas arise – there’s nothing going on there. So, same thing again this winter?

At this year’s 21st edition of the popular conference in the OMSI Auditorium on October 26th, Andy Bryant of the National Weather Service told a standing-room-only crowd that his agency expects near normal temperatures and precipitation – with a slightly better chance of low-elevation snow than last year. (When there wasn’t any.)

Kyle Dittmer, of the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, who follows sunspot levels as part of his forecasting, thought that it “would not be a cold, wet winter – a La Niña bias”. Low precipitation is expected through December, he said, picking up in January, with a wet April through June period.

Dittmer did think there might be one moderate Portland snow event of 2 to 4 inches – that’s usually enough to paralyze the city! – and maybe three more minor snow events, all of them in the January-through-March period.

Jim Little, formerly of KGW-TV, and a Cleveland High and Linfield College grad, picked six analog years he thought best simulated this year – 1961, 1964, 1967, 1996, 2001, and 2007 – and forecast a wet December, with maybe a cold snap, and then average weather until April, which he projects to be cool and wet.

One of the regulars in this conference, Pete Parsons, formerly of KOIN-TV and now with the Oregon Agricultural Department, could not attend – but e-mailed in his forecast anyway, and it was a little more interesting. His analog years were 1968, 1981, and 2007, and all of these years had extreme weather in December, so he expects notable stormy weather this December too.

So – maybe there will be some snow. It may be a wet or a dry December, with maybe an extreme weather event sometime between December and March. But otherwise, it appears, most likely we’ll have a mild winter – more or less like the one we had last year.