Cliff Mass: Get ready for a snowy La Niña winter

Seattle weather expert Cliff Mass has made the call. It’s a La Niña winter and that means more rain — and lower temperatures in the Pacific Northwest:

It also turns out that there is a greater probability of lowland snow west of the Cascades during La Nina years.

Tower and Clouds

Originally uploaded by prima seadiva

Now, if Seattle’s Mayor McGinn knows whats good for him he would be sharpening those snow plow blades, securing lots of sand and SALT, establishing rational plans for plowing the city, and telling all snow plow operators to avoid his neighborhood. We lost one Mayor to snowappocalypse, two would be an embarrassment. I offered to build a SNOWWATCH web page for the city…no bites yet.

The last La Niña event started in 2007, lasted through early 2009 and was relatively moderate, meteorologist types claim. For a reminder, here’s what December 2008 looked like on Capitol Hill.

The last major La Niña came in 1988/89. Seattle got 14 inches of snow that winter — nearly all of it in February and March.

Major Seattle Weather Incidents (Source: City of Seattle)






Two weeks of snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Metro bus, garbage, recycling services severely impacted. Holiday travelers stranded. More consecutive hours of snow on the ground than any other storm in the past 20 years.



Near record snow falls the day after Christmas. Metro halts service completely for the first time in its history. Freeze and snowmelt contribute to flooding and landslides during the following week.



Nearly 10 inches of snow fell as the power went out in many parts of the city.



The offical record for single season snowfall.



Near record one-day snowfall of 21.4 inches at Sea-Tac accompanied by 25-40 m.p.h. winds. 63.6 inches fell the entire month at Sea-Tac.



Single day snow record set at 21.5 inches. The roof of the St. James Cathedral collapsed



64 inches fell during the season according to unofficial records. Snow drifted 3-5 feet at the waterfront. Roofs collapsed throughout the city.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

One thought on “Cliff Mass: Get ready for a snowy La Niña winter