The Pacific Northwest Winter Forecast

The latest U.S. winter outlook spells trouble for dry California

We were too distracted by the big-city power plays and the small-state controversies to cover the latest U.S. winter outlook, but we didn’t let that stop us from celebrating the coming of a new year by offering this quick note of hope from Dr. Alan Robilotto, a top expert on the Pacific Northwest.

The Washington post’s “Winter Forecast” offers a glimpse of what’s to come for the Pacific Northwest region. It shows that all the recent stories about snowstorms are wrong, unless you are a tree hugger who can’t see past the top of the nearest tree.

And there is still potential for snow in the Pacific Northwest, at least in the valleys and foothills of the Cascade snow-belt. There is also an element of luck when it comes to winter weather that is not found in Southern California.

The first thing to know is that in many respects the U.S. winter is no different than Southern California. Here is how Dr. Robilotto summarized what he found in the first few days of the winter:

1) The Pacific Northwest has an overall warm, dry and windy winter which usually favors the arrival of a wet weather system after all the snowy weather has passed.

2) We have a dry-out after the wet-up, which means that the snow will be dry and loose. The dry snow will stick well and we can have the normal winter snowfall for the Pacific Northwest.

3) There may be a brief period from mid-December through the following March where there is a severe cold-air mass (the polar air mass that is found over Europe, Russia and North America).

4) There is a high chance of a high snowfall.

5) The main danger is from the very cold air arriving late in the winter and the resulting cold wave that lasts as long as four to six weeks.

The late arrival of cold air is what typically brings the ski areas to a standstill. The ski slopes are in their early season at this time of year.

We have to remember that most of our northern communities are north of the tree line, which means that they get a little more room to breathe

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