A Winter Weather Update to Get Your Hopes Up 

by Noah Wali

November 1 has passed. Fall sports have almost concluded. As we veer away from the first stressful deadline for college applications and watch our fellow soccer players compete to be champions this weekend, it is important to notice the slow shift towards the winter season. I believe it is finally time to address the question plaguing the minds of our readers: When is the snow coming?

Well, the truth is it may (or may not) be great for Portlanders down in the valley this year. Though it is a bit early to truly determine what our winter will be like, Kelley Bayern, a Koin 6 meteorologist, tells us that using ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation), we can begin to make predictions about our winter. ENSO refers to waters just off the Pacific coast which sometimes have surface temperatures above normal, and sometimes below normal. This year is shaping up to be neutral in terms of these temperatures, which means this is somewhat of a wildcard year in terms of snow. Below are some percentages given by Bayern, breaking it down for us.

ENSO-Neutral winters in the past in Portland: 

  • 30% chance for 10 inches or more
  • 65% chance of at least 2 inches
  • 25% chance of trace amounts (0 inches)

In the past, ENSO-Neutral winters have been the catalyst for storms such as the 2017 snowstorm that shut down the city. Though it is still far too early to tell, I hope Portland can accumulate enough snow for me to snowboard down my street. 

Of course, no matter what, there are always opportunities to enjoy yourself at Mount Hood. This year, our beloved Hood is expected to get more snow than it usually does, between 450-460 inches of snow throughout the season. Officials from Meadows and Timberline hope to open their resorts before Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy your boarding and skiing while you can because a new report on climate change says that between 1982 and 2016, the ski season in the western half of the United States has decreased by approximately 34 days. 

Whether you enjoy winter sports, love the beauty of a winter wonderland, or simply want time off from school, you may be able to indulge as there is a good chance some form of snow will fall in Portland or on the mountain this year. “I am really excited about the snow, especially skiing,” said an optimistic Julia N. ‘21, “I also can’t wait for Christmas music, decorations, and the holiday spirit to kick in.” Brace yourselves for a wildcard winter, folks.

Note: None of the information I’ve given you should certify that snow will fall in Portland this season! We do not want a repeat of last year (headline: “PORTLAND EXPECTING MAJOR SNOWSTORM THIS YEAR”). We got no snow. Don’t trust anyone but yourselves, people.

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