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Moved online by pandemic concerns, the 'What Will Winter Be Like' presentation did go on again this yeear

ERIC NORBERG - In the virtual What Will Winter Be Like weather prediction meeting this year, these were among the forecasters. Circled in green in the center row is the moderator, Steve Pierce of the Portland AMS Chapter and KOIN-TV; and along the bottom row, from left, are Mark Nelson of KPTV, and featured forecasters Pete Parsons and Kyle Dittmer. The Portland Area Chapter of the American Meteorological Society had been presenting their annual October "What Will Winter Be Like" gathering of weather forecasters for 27 years in the auditorium at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). This year, the COVID-19 pandemic ruled out a public meeting. So, the 28th annual meeting went on "virtually" – online, via ZOOM. As usual, it started with Mark Nelson, meteorologist at KPTV, presenting what last winter REALLY was like. It did not turn out to be as cool and stormy as forecast by all the presenters last year, with the culprit most likely being the persistence of a warm water mass off the Northwest coast that lasted further into the winter than anyone had expected. Nelson called it the most boring winter he could remember in his life. He's a Portland native.

There seemed, in the forecasting session that followed, a general consensus that since this winter features a "La Nina" weather condition in the Central Pacific Ocean, after a year with a weak "El Nino" winter, this year really should be colder, more variable, and probably a bit stormier than were the last two years.

Two veterans of these conferences gave detailed forecasts specifically for Northwest Oregon this winter. One was Kyle Dittmer, Hydrologist and Meterologist for the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, foresaw a wet and cold December and March, a snowy December in the Columbia Gorge, and a very snowy March for the Cascades. He forecast a total of six inches of snow in Portland this winter, divided into one snow event in December and one in March and three minor show events, and a rainy December, in particular. The other was Pete Parsons, onetime KOIN-TV meteorologist and also a former National Weather Service forecaster, as well as a former teacher – today forecasting for the Oregon Department of Forestry jointly with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. His forecast was for a relatively warm November, followed by a stormy and cold December through February, with the most stormy and cold month here to be January. He foresaw snow in Portland in January, with chances for more in other winter months – and a good snow year in the Cascades. Several other forecasters made prognostications for this winter, but in general all seemed to in agreement that La Nina will make this a wetter and colder winter than the last two. Look for the next "What Will Winter Be Like" conference in late October of 2021, hopefully held at OMSI but "virtually" if necessary, starting with a witty postmortem of our current winter once again presented by meteorologist Mark Nelson.


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