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La Niña turns out less severe in retrospect

Elaine Thompson
A woman strides under snow-covered branches around Seattle's Greenlake following a snowfall of several inches there overnight in 2005., a non-La Niña year.

The Washington State Climatologist is out with a report card on how the weather phenomenon La Niña treated the Northwest. If you thought it’s been wetter and colder than usual since November, you’re right. But overall, this La Niña was milder than predicted. KPLU's Tom Banse reports:

La Niña is one of those climate swings that start in the waters of the tropical Pacific. Traditionally, it brings us cooler and wetter weather than normal. Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond crunched together the temperature and snowfall records from across the region. He rates what we’ve just gone through as a “middle of the pack” La Niña.

“I expected it to be maybe a little bit more on the severe side. That was partly because of the relatively cold temperatures in the equatorial region going into the fall.”

Bond says the tropical ocean conditions that influence our weather are returning briskly to a “neutral” state. He predicts “a lingering hangover” from La Niña for the next month or so with cool and wet conditions. But after that, as he puts it, the deck won’t be stacked toward weather extremes one way or the other.

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
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