Forecast: Colder and wetter winter ahead
Forecasters who gathered at the 29th annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference predicted lower temperatures and more precipitation this winter compared to last year on Saturday, Oct. 23.
Although most predicted one or more snow storms in Portland, none were confident any of them would be as bad at the one that hit last February, which was the worst in 40 years. The snow was followed by freezing rain that toppled trees and knocked out power for 40 percent of PGE's customers, causing the effects to linger for weeks.
Some of the forecasters predicted the snowpack in the cascades could reach 140% of normal by the end of winter. They also felt the spring would not be as dry as last year, allowing the snow pack to melt slower and ease the drought.
Chapter president and KOIN 6 meteorologist Steve Pierce notes that the La Niña conditions that contributed to last winter's storm are still with us.
"Mother Nature always has a surprise up her sleeve, and this winter will likely be no different," Pierce said.
The free event is hosted every year by the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society. It was streamed live on the organization's Facebook page, where it is posted for repeat viewings. Social media shares are appreciated.
The lineup for this year's event included:
• 2020/2021 Weather Wrap Up / Year In Review - Mark Nelsen, Oregon AMS Secretary / KPTV-12 Chief Meteorologist
• Headline Forecaster - Rebecca Muessle, Meteorologist, National Weather Service - Portland Office
• 2nd Forecaster - Pete Parsons, Meteorologist, Oregon Department of Forestry
• 3rd Forecaster - Kyle Dittmer, Hydrologist / Meteorologist - Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)
• 4th Forecaster - Tanis Leach, Climate Science Student / President, Oregon State University Student Chapter of the AMS
• Final Forecaster - Charlie Phillips, Meteorologist, Puget Sound Energy
• Q&A via Facebook Live - Moderated by AMS Executive Council
The Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society was founded in 1947 and is the single largest local chapter in the country, with approximately 180 members. Its mission statement reads: "The purpose of this society shall be to advance professional ideals in the science of meteorology and to promote the development, exchange and application of meteorological knowledge."
The Oregon AMS chapter normally hosts meetings from September to May that are free and open to all ages of the general public. It welcomes the public to become chapter members for $10 per year at oregonams.wordpress.com/membership.
Meetings are always found on its website.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.