With La Nina on horizon, odds are good for more snow

We can expect more rain than normal this winter if La Niña plays out

Mount Hood on April 18, 2016. (KOIN)
Mount Hood on April 18, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — La Niña watch is in effect, so what does that mean for the winter outlook?

KOIN 6 Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke says we can expect more rain than normal this winter if La Niña plays out, and it seems more likely that’s going to happen.

Thousands of miles off the Oregon coast, ocean temperatures are starting to cool down. With that cooling comes changes in the jet stream that puts the Pacific Northwest in the line of fire, which means more storms, cooler-than-normal temperatures and the potential for more snow.

Weather patterns over the Pacific Northwest during La Nina. (KOIN)
Weather patterns over the Pacific Northwest during La Nina. (KOIN)

Mt. Hood saw above average snowpack last year, and La Niña could bring another great year on the mountain.

“We love anything that says La Niña on it because it’s usually colder… more snow,” Dave Tragethon with Mt. Hood Meadows said. “We are kind of banking on that.”

Mt. Hood has already gotten over 1 foot of early season snow this year and it’s been one of the wettest Octobers on record.

Still, La Niña isn’t officially here yet.

Van Dyke says the region is currently in what’s known as a neutral, or normal, phase — an anything can go type of weather pattern. But even normal years tend to deliver great snow. By the holidays we can usually expect a snow base about 8-feet deep.

El Nino (left) during October 2015 and La Nina (right) during October 2016. (KOIN)
El Nino (left) during October 2015 and La Nina (right) during October 2016. (KOIN)

And with La Niña on the horizon, the odds are even better to see more snow on the mountain. La Niña also changes the storm track, which means there may be more opportunities for rain and low elevation snow this winter.

One thing to keep in mind is that it will probably be a very weak La Niña, meaning it could bring less extreme impacts.

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