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Every year local meterologists get together to forecast what the upcoming winter will be like. Here's their new report

ERIC NORBERG - Pete Parsons, forecaster for the Oregon Department of Forestry, made one of the most interesting comments of the conference: Theres currently more arctic ice at this point of the year, than any year in two decades. This could give us more interesting weather this winter than would otherwise be the case. The "29th Annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference" of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorology Society took place online again this year. But, with luck, next year it will return in late October to the auditorium at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – OMSI – back where it belongs.

THE BEE is there every year, and needless to say we are always very interested to hear what each upcoming winter will be like.

This year, as is the case every year, the conference started with a recap of the previous winter by Mark Nelson of KPTV-12. He pointed out that it was the warmest winter in 70 years in Western Oregon; but that what we all remember of it are five stormy days in mid-February which gave us rain, snow, and ice – sinking dozens of boats at the marina near the Sellwood Bridge, and causing building collapses – notably, both gyms at Reed College. He also reminded us that 2013 was the last time we had a "wintry blast".

After the recap there were detailed and illustrated talks on the subject of the upcoming winter by five forecasters – Rebecca Muessle of the National Weather Service office at the Portland Airport; Pete Parsons, onetime local TV weatherman and these days the forecaster for the Oregon Department of Forestry; Kyle Dittmer, of the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission; Tanis Leach, who is still an OSU student and is the President of the AMS branch at the University; and Charlie Phillips, meteorologist for Puget Sound Energy in Seattle.

ERIC NORBERG - For the second straight year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Oregon AMS to hold its annual winter forecast conference online, rather than in person at the OMSI auditorium. Of those, Rebecca Muselle of the National Weather Service and Charlie Phillips expected a cooler and wetter than average winter here, and an ample Cascades snowpack; Phillips added, "we are very unlikely to see a repeat of last year's record-dry spring." On the other hand, Pete Parsons and Tanis Leach both expected less precipitation than last winter, but both agree there should be plenty of mountain snow. Pete Parsons seemed to think that the City of Portland might turn out to be an outlier in his general forecast, and have higher than normal rain. Nobody seemed to expect a big windstorm, but Parsons and Leach thought a "wintry blast" could be a possibility.

In addition to expecting a lot of mountain snow this winter, all five forecasters agreed that this would be a La Niña year, like last year – and that the La Niña should be a stronger one than last year. But, as you've noticed, just what that actually means for the upcoming weather was not as unanimous. Portland snow? Some thought it a possibility. They all agreed that La Niña years allows for a lot of variability; so there you are – you may well find a variety of weather confronting you this winter, but perhaps nothing particularly extreme. Have a nice winter.


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