George Taylor, president of Applied Climate Services in Corvallis, Ore., shared his winter weather predictions at a joint meeting of three OAN chapters — Clackamas, Sunset and Willamette — on Oct. 8.
The former state climatologist first explained the tropical Pacific weather cycles popularly known as El Niño and La Niña, which are strong weather predictors. El Niños occur in years when the surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean is higher than average; they tend to produce warmer, drier winters. La Niñas are characterized by cooler than average ocean water; they indicate wet and cool weather.
Based on current and historical data, the best matches to 2013 are 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988 and 2007. These years all saw average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. When a “normal” ocean state is the dominant condition, long-range forecasting is more difficult.
Nevertheless, Tayor offered this as his bottom line:
• Precipitation will be a little above average.
• Temperatures will be average in the early season and mid-winter, followed by a cool spring.
• Mountain snow will be above average, and he sees a strong likelihood for low-elevation snow.
“That’s the number one question I’m asked: Is it going to snow this year?” Taylor said he’s heard anecdotal reports about yellowjackets, which suggest we’re going to have a very harsh winter, but he doesn’t see it in the data.
The evening began with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by a catered Mexican buffet. After dinner, Taylor gave his hour-long presentation. The meeting was capped with chapter reports from Val Tancredi of the Willamette Chapter, Jim Simnitt of the Clackamas Chapter, and Mike Coleman of the Willamette Chapter.
OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone gave a brief legislative summary, noting that the current government shutdown has stymied efforts to pass immigration reform or a new Farm Bill. Pete Brentano of Brentano’s Tree Farm closed out the meeting with an Oregon Board of Agriculture update.