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Rod Hill's 2013-2014 Winter Forecast

by KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @kgwrodhill

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 9:10 PM

Neutral enso conditions are projected for the 2nd year in a row.  The "neutral" state refers to near normal equatorial Pacific water temperatures. 

My winter forecast projection is for the months of November, December, January, February and March.  The research I have compiled focuses on neutral seasons with high rain totals during the combined months of September and October.  Years I am using for comparison begin with the fall months of:  1979, 1981, 1986, 1996 and 2005. 

Here is my Portland winter forecast:

1.  Precipitation:  Wetter than normal by 5.90 inches, which would be an extra month of rain.

2.  Valley Snowfall: Odds favor no big events with a season total of 1 to 3 inches.  The data set does include a 20 percent chance of one 8-inch snow event. Last winter only saw a trace of snowfall.

3.  Temperatures:  An overall temperature average of 1/2 degree above normal.  Month-to-month data:  November near normal; December and January above normal;  a cool February and a normal March.

4.   Extreme Weather Events:  A high chance of one to three valley wind events with south peak gusts 50 to 70 mph.  The  comparison winter of 2005-2006 had two valley wind events with 50 mph gusts.  The fall of 1981 had a mini-Columbus Day storm with 71 mph winds in Salem and Portland.

5.  Cascade snowfall:  Projecting a good year with 525 inches of snow or more at Timberline Lodge. Normal for the resort is a seasonal total of 400 to 500 inches.  Last year saw 545 inches fall. Mt.  Hood has not seen a low snow total since 2004-2005. The last eight winter seasons have averaged 606 inches at the lodge.


Keep in mind, seasonal forecasting has a skill roughly 20 percent better than pure chance. Here is my report card from last winter's forecast

  1. I projected high confidence of no significant valley snow.  (Correct)
  2. Below normal rainfall for the water year:  (Wrong)  My projected total was 9.00 inches too low.
  3. Mt. Hood snowfall:  I projected up to 500 inches of at Timberline.  (Correct)  The total at the lodge was 545 inches, which is slightly higher than my projection, but still pretty close.
  4. I said we were not due for and not expecting any extreme weather events.  (Correct)

If my winter forecast is correct, the metro valley will see a wet winter with a few decent wind events  and most likely a few brief snowfalls, although one major snow event looks possible. 

Happy fall and winter season,

Meteorologist Rod Hill, follow me at: