As summer starts to enter its final stretch run, attention is now already turning to the upcoming fall and winter, especially for fans of stormier weather since last year was panned as a dud in their circles. It just so happens the latest seasonal outlook was published late last week and the computers offer up...pretty much a forecast of "your guess is as good as ours." Hmpf.
But it does weigh in a bit on next spring. For anyone who has been here the past three or four springs, I'll give you three guesses where that is trending (and no peeking at the blog's headline.)
They also give a 30-day forecast that weighs in on September -- and it gives those who have loved this summer so far a reason to smile, saying that the warm July and August is likely going to carry over:
That suggests a general pattern of a big hot ridge of high pressure centered over the inter-mountain West and the Pacific Northwest getting some of the fringe heating effects that keep us warm but not too hot -- or just about how all of July and August have played out. Students at UW will be quite happy classes don't begin until almost October.
But once we start drifting into autumn and winter, the climate models start to lose any kind of signal to base a weighted forecast off of, giving us the dreaded "EC", which stands for "Equal Chances" Translation: It's a coin flip whether the period ends up warmer or cooler than normal, or about average.
This is likely due to the fact that we're heading into a neutral winter where we don't have La Nina or El Nino. Neutral winters really tend to run the gamut around here -- periods of extended dry, periods of extended rain and, yes, periods of extended cold or snow.
While the fall and winter as a whole typically end up average when all is said and done (thus, likely the reasons for the "EC"s on the 90-day climate forecast maps), neutral winters are usually punctuated by a big storm or two or three. Our greatest wind storms and some of our greatest snow storms have come in neutral winters (usually about the time Steve Pool or I try to take time off...)
So winter is anything goes, what about spring?
Maps are picking up a signal of cooler-than-normal spring once again in the Pacific Northwest. Cool weather fans might call that "paying the piper" for this summer. Sun fans would probably contend we're still owed about another 12 years of sunshine to make up for past springs...