Today's update from the Climate Prediction center says the equatorial waters of the Pacific show a near normal to slightly below temperature. This means, we will continue in a "Neutral" phase through this spring. Outlooks from the National Weather Service project below normal temperatures for our area February through April. There is no confidence given for rainfall patterns.
Current forecast charts show below normal rainfall likely through mid-February. I will be keeping an eye on next month to see if a mini-climate shift of dry February weather continues. Nine of the last ten February's have seen below normal rainfall. In fact, PDX has averaged 1.46 inches below climate average for the month dating back to 2003. This drying trend is reflected in the new 30-year average. From 1971-2000, February normal rainfall was 4.18 inches. The updated data set for 1981-2010 shows normal February rainfall to be 3.66 inches.
At this point, I am putting my money on below normal rainfall for February 2013. Of course the bigger question is whether or not we will again see soaking rains or record rainfall during the spring months of March - June.
KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill