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Winter Predictions for Oregon Coast: the Blob, Normal Temps, and Wild Cards

Published 09/16/2016 at 6:41 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Heavy storm waves near Yachats

(Oregon Coast) - The National Weather Service (NWS) recently released its climate predictions for the winter season, calling for a very average winter – meaning not good for skiers and not that great for stormwatchers. (Above: Heavy storm waves near Yachats).

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced the return of the “blob,” an area of ocean water off the west coast where the surface is warmer than other regions around it – suspected of causing a warming influence on the weather of this area. It was thought to have nudged everything from drought conditions to heavier storms in this region. The general belief is that the blob disappeared by summer.

However, meteorologist Clinton Rocky, with the NWS in Portland, doesn't think it ever went away. It's been helping to create this unusually long run of sunny days on the Oregon coast, and he thinks it could somewhat influence the winter weather trends.

For the official word on the seasonal outlook, Rocky said it looks like a trend towards closer to normal seasonal temperatures and an otherwise uneventful winter. The general prediction is saying the Pacific Northwest won't be either a La Nina or an El Nino winter, bur rather a “La Nada.”

Look for temperatures to stay around the average, with not a really cold or very warm winter. But it will like be fairly wet.

“Definitely not an El Nino,” Rocky said. “Not like last year when we had that freakish beginning to the winter where it was really, really wet, and then it dried out the rest of the winter with well below average rainfall,” Rocky said.

He said fall will probably trend towards a bit warmer, but winter will be fairly uneventful.

However, some of the biggest storms along the Oregon coast happened in La Nada winters, such as the Great Gale of 2007.

Rocky said these kinds of winters can be wild cards.

“You run the chance of having anything,” Rocky said. “It can go from an uneventful winter to a couple of active windstorms. That's the problem with these in-between years: you never really know what you're going to get. Odds are we'll wind up seasonal. For the coast, yeah, you'll get windstorms. Yeah, you'll get some big storms once in a while. The odds of it being a really dry and warm winter: probably not very good. The odds of getting a really cold, snowy and wet winter: probably not good.

Now, however, the blob enters the picture.

Essentially, the blob would enhance high pressure, Rocky said, blocking storms and making them weaker. Weaker storms on the coast may translate to a few more sunny days, but more likely just less of those strong, windy days. That, in turn, means less erosion and less fun stuff to find on the beaches of the Oregon coast.

However, the blob may get killed off by November storms.

“If we don't get rid of the blob when storms come in November, when they stir things like a hurricane, then it'll stick around,” Rocky said. “If it's dissipated, we'll have a more normal winter and possibly larger storms.”

That blob likely had a lot to do with the unusually long run of sunny days on the coast this summer, lasting most of the time since June. Temps lingered in the 60's and 70's much of this time.

This is why Rocky believes the blob never quite went away. It was more noticeable when the seasonal temperatures were colder, but not as evident once the summer warmed up.

“It weakened slightly and the anomalies were not as pronounced as last year,” Rocky said. “But it seems to be getting stronger again. It never went away. It just wasn't as strong as last year.” See Oregon Coast Weather. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours





 

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