Ingredients I Need to Make a 2009-2010 Winter Forecast

**WEATHER ALERT: A heavy rain band is going to be moving through the Kitsap area at around 6:00, dropping rain at a rate of half an inch an hour. Visibility will, at times, be low and driving conditions will be dangerous. Please take it easy this evening**


My inbox filled up over the past couple days inquiring my personal thoughts concerning this winter because of my most recent blog post about AccuWeather’s latest long range winter forecast. I’ve said many times before, I would take AccuWeather’s long range forecasts for the west coast with a grain of salt. Their east coast predictions aren’t too bad, considering they’re based on the east coast (who wouldathunk?)

But I am still compiling information that will ultimately result in my winter forecast which will be issued sometime early next month. Here are a few things I’m looking for before I make any rash predictions:

  • State of the PDO—September’s PDO number was 0.52, warmer than I think a lot of snow lovers wanted to see. We need that PDO to drop, and that will require a lot of cool water spreading along the west coast, dropping the SST’s (sea surface temperatures). In turn, the PDO will drop, making it easier to produce cold and snow here. I won’t know how the October PDO number will fare until the end of the month. Right now I’m getting a bit nervous. It has most certainly dropped from 0.54, but it may not stay below that number for long. We’ll see…
  • State of the El Nino—I’ve been teasing my readers with a “El Nino is Dying” blog post and I have so far neglected to do so. The main reason being, I have all the information I need, I just need to find enough time to write it all up. In short, the El Nino has weakened some and does not look to be nearly as strong as it seemed a few weeks back. That’s good news for snow lovers.
  • Analogs—I used 1951 and 1997 as analogs for my fall forecast. You can read my fall prediction here, and so far my analogs have been pretty good. From late September through now the prediction has been pretty dead on. This doesn’t mean the 1951 and 1997 analog will be the factor for this winter. Analogs can change from season to season.

So, at this current time I can’t give anyone a straight answer as to what to expect this winter until I have all the “ingredients” I need to make any claim. I will say this, however, I wouldn’t put much stock in AccuWeather or especially NOAA’s winter forecast. Their track record is less than impressive.


As for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver…there are signs that the weather situation will be extreme either way: extreme cold and snow or extreme warmth and bone dry. There is still certainly a very good chance this winter pulls through and delivers an epic Olympics in B.C., but again…only time will tell. If you can all wait for a couple more weeks, I’ll have a nice, thorough forecast produced.

I know that this didn’t necessarily answer any questions as to what this winter will produce, but at least this gave you an idea of what I’m still looking for in order to produce an accurate forecast.

FORECAST FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS: Heavy rain will be the story tomorrow. We could have over an inch of rain in spots (from this ONE storm) tomorrow before all is said and done. Tomorrow will be a stormy, drenching day and could cause spots of flooding. We settle down for most of next week, but more storm systems, and some heavy, will return for the following weekend.

Have a great weekend and always feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions you may have,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap