According to meteorologists, above-average rainfall is expected

After a summer of record-breaking heat and bone-dry conditions, West Washington is receiving its first cooler autumn weather report this week with an upcoming cold front. And residents should be prepared for more rain than usual this winter, according to meteorologists.

Experts from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Seattle gave an outlook for the coming winter season during the annual stakeholder meeting on Tuesday and forecast above-average rainfall in the West Washington region for the months of October, November and December.

While rainfall totals are likely to increase compared to previous years for a drizzly start to the winter months, temperatures are expected to stay close to average for the last three months of the year.

Above-average rainfall is expected in the Pacific Northwest for the months of October, November and December.

NWS Seattle

Seasonal temperature outlook.

Seasonal temperature outlook.

NWS Seattle

“Chances are we will see above normal precipitation in this three-month period,” said Reid Wolcott, the meteorologist for the NWS Alert Coordination. “If we look at temperatures, there’s an equal chance of seeing above, below, or near normal temperatures throughout the season.”

Seasonal rainfall for the first months of 2022 – January, February and March – is also expected to be above average, according to the NWS. However, the outlook also suggests below-average temperatures for this three-month period.

The wetter winter could be spurred on by a La Niña event: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is currently forecasting a 70-80% chance that La Niña will outlast winter 2021-2022. In western Washington, La Niña winters are marked by more rain and cooler temperatures than usual, with an increased likelihood of events such as lowland snow.

La Niña events often occur over consecutive winters in what climate scientists refer to as “double immersion”. While last season’s event was on the stronger side, the strength of this year’s event and when it will start is still uncertain. However, Wolcott noted that this La Niña appeared to be weaker than last year’s event.

Seasonal precipitation forecast for early 2022.

Seasonal precipitation forecast for early 2022.

NWS Seattle

Seasonal temperature outlook for early 2022.

Seasonal temperature outlook for early 2022.

NWS Seattle

“Overall, that outlook for the next six months is pretty similar to what we looked at last year,” said Wolcott. “It’s likely that we’ll see heavy rains and floods, we’ll likely see some wind, and we’ll see some snow, maybe not in the lowlands, but we really don’t know at this point.”

Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) created a new climate outlook for the region and found that it has become warmer and wetter than it was 30 years ago. While the total amount of rainfall has increased each year, the number of rainy days per year has remained on trend, averaging 156 days, compared to a little less than 152 days in the last recorded period.



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