What a tough act to follow for this year's La Nina. After pounding the Pacific Northwest with storms and setting the World snowfall record at Mt. Baker, La Nina left Washington State and Oregon ski areas shell shocked. Well, La Nina ain't over yet!
The forecast for the Pacific, especially the Northwest, is similar to what happened last year. The World snowfall record might be in jeopardy for the Washington State and Oregon areas. Since the remaining effects of the 1997-98 El Nino have completely disappeared this year, La Nina should be colder and wetter in this region.
The shift north of the pacific jet stream will result in colder and wetter weather dipping down from Alaska. Also, studies done by the Climate Prediction Center compared the four back-to-back La Ninas that have taken place since 1950 and concluded that the second is usually colder and wetter. In fact, the second La Nina in the winter of 1984-85 produced near record snowfall in parts of Washington State.
So if past La Ninas, including last years, are any indication, this will be a banner year in the Pacific Northwest.
As for California, near normal precipitation is expected to dominate the region with colder temperatures to settle around the coast. However, with unpredictable changes in the pacific jet stream, there is no telling how far south storms will dip down into the Sierras. As a result, the Tahoe region looks to have a good season, but it won't set any records.