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October 18, 2011 at 8:45 AM

It could be a winter for skiers to love

Graphic provided by Accuweather.com

Expect a wet start to winter and a cold, snowy finish that should delight skiers and water-resource managers. That’s the word to Western Washington residents from AccuWeather.com.

The Pennsylvania-based private forecasting agency this week said precipitation is likely to be above normal in the Seattle and Portland areas in December, and then ease back closer to normal levels in January.

The big story of the winter – heavy snowfall ­– could hit in February and last into early March, said Ken Clark, AccuWeather.com’s Western U.S. expert.  Although overall precipitation during that period may not be above normal, more of it is expected to fall as snow, as frigid conditions spread from the Pacific Coast to the Rocky Mountains.

Clark said the forecasts, generated by computer models, are driven by the fact that surface water temperatures are below normal in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator.  That’s the signature of a “La Nina” pattern which, in the Northwest U.S., often means higher than usual winter precipitation and colder temperatures, Clark said.

 

Comments | More in Weather Beat | Topics: skiers, snow, weather

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