Signs point to colder than normal spring for Pacific Northwest, but dry summer

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SEATTLE — If it feels like spring is in the air, you’re kind of right. But after the winter we had, what do spring and summer look like?


SpringtimeQ13 News Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley says March will be warmer than normal, but April through June looks colder than normal. (That doesn’t mean snow, though.)

As for rain, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center says models point to above-average precipitation for April, May, and June.

“What could end up being notable for our spring forecast is that the unusual strip of warm water that’s been sitting off our Pacific Ocean beaches all winter looks like it has diminished somewhat since the beginning of the year,” Q13 News Meteorologist Tim Joyce explains. “This would lead me to think that we might have a more typical Northwest spring than we saw last year.”

March 2016 was one of the wettest on record and April 2016 was one of the hottest for Western Washington. So far, February 2017 is the 5th wettest on record.

“The main driver of our extreme weather shifts this year have had mostly to do with where the jet stream was pointed. That fast-moving river of air above us carries a lot of moisture and this year when we’ve been in the cross-hairs, we’ve gotten totally drenched,” Joyce explains. “I would assume that Mother Nature has some more tricks up her sleeve for the coming spring.”

But don’t put too much stock in the long-range forecast, warns Joyce.

“I honestly haven’t had much confidence in the long-range prognostications since the last 12 months,” says Joyce, adding that we’ve had some pretty big extremes this winter, and the “long-range models didn’t pick up on much of it at all.”

Spring officially begins March 20.


Orcas Island, WA

Orcas Island, WA

Looking ahead to this summer, the outlook for July, August, and September offers increased odds on above average temperatures and below average precipitation, according to the National Weather Service.

So warmer and drier.

Kelley agrees with that forecast, saying, “Think of a great summer afternoon around 75 degrees! Not 85, just right!”

Do you agree?

Summer officially begins June 20.

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