SEATTLE -- Millions of Seattleites stared at the sky in wonder Thursday as a bright ball of light rose above the horizon, turning the skies into a unfamiliar shade of blue and revealing these strange hills that tower thousands of feet high, covered in some sort of white blanket.
It's been about a month since the sun came out in full force around here, and for those who are tiring of the multitude of gray, rainy days, the new spring forecast issued by NOAA offers a ray of light...even sunlight.
For April, forecasters give "equal 1/3 chances" on whether it'll be warmer, cooler, or just plain normal for temperatures -- a forecast given when the long-range climate models don't pick up on a signal to weigh the forecast's odds in a particular direction.
But there is a signal -- albeit a weak one -- that the month will lean drier than normal around here:
That gives slightly better than average chance we'll end up with a drier than normal April, but at this point, most locals will take any morsel they can get.
As for the entire spring outlook, the Pacific Northwest gets a general shoulder shrug: \_(?)_/ with equal 1/3 chances of above,below, and normal rainfall and temperatures in the period. Just no good signal now to predict, so spin the roulette wheel...
Going forward into the summer and autumn... and winter... and next spring, long range climate forecasts have painted much of the nation with higher odds of warmer than normal conditions, including the Northwest in the warm sector in every single map:
(The precipitation maps are largely uneventful with few depictions of wetter or drier conditions.)
I don't think it's so much that we're reverting back to GodZilla El Nino/Warm Blob heat conditions; just that forecasters are going with the realization that temperatures as a whole have warmed across the continent so what is "normal" today is still "above normal" by the compared averages of the past few decades that we measure against, so much of the nation now gets painted in the warmer orange hues on the maps.
La Nina remains dead and we are currently in neutral conditions. Long range forecasts are split whether we head back into El Nino for next fall and winter -- which usually means mild, dry, less exciting winters -- or we stay neutral which tend to wildly range from stormy periods to calm periods, but either one at least makes the odds of going through another chilly wet winter as we are just completing quite low.