La Niña Forcast, October 12th, 2017 – John Forrest – Northern Escape Heli Skiing
There’s been hopes, there’s been whispers, and there’s been all out rumours, but it’s official now – NOAA released its long-range forecast for this winter and La Niña is back baby!
Not only is she back, but also the NOAA winter prediction is that La Niña will be stronger than the 2017 ski season. And, for anyone who was heli skiing in British Columbia last season, you know it’s going to be EPIC!
After last season’s record breaking snowfalls, we are already getting excited for what could be a repeat of some of the best heli skiing conditions of this century. But, what is La Niña and why is she so revered in skiing and snowboarding circles?
In layman’s terms, La Niña typically is a combination of several global weather pattern changes. The cooler oceanic water in the Equatorial regions creates a decreased temperature difference with that of the Arctic waters. This decreased temperature difference shifts the ocean’s currents slightly. These shifted oceanic currents cause a subtle shift in the Polar Jet Stream and we see it dip slightly further south. The combined pattern changes have the effect of allowing the cooler arctic air to slump further south and combine with the moisture-laden jet stream and presto – we have the perfect storm so to speak. Cool air and the moist Pacific jet stream combine to create the deepest of blower pow imaginable!
Now, this is of course, just a forecast and anything can happen between now and heli ski season 2018. Seasonal forecasts are rather poor at predicting any one event, but they do a reasonable job of predicting the overall character of the season.
To Quote Cliff Mass who is a notable NW Meteorologist: “OK, what does all this imply for the Northwest winter? Generally cooler and wetter than normal. More snow than average in the mountains. The implications for snow is clear, especially after January 1…. a higher probability of the white stuff, particularly in the mountains.”
That’s good enough for me and I’m getting my snorkel ready!