National Weather Service: remainder of winter depends on La Niña

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

As the east coast moves towards some warmer temperatures, our coast may finally see some cooling off.

News 10 sat down with Ryan Sandler, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Medford, to discuss weather impacts so far and predictions for the rest of the season.

"It’s definitely way below normal for rainfall and snowfall in the mountains," said Sandler.

Sandler says that's because atmospheric rivers have been scarce and pressures haven’t been moving in our favor.

"When it's really cold and there's a big low pressure over the eastern part of the United States, there's usually a ridge of high pressure over the west," said Sandler.

The winter activity seems to just be missing us this year, but a little short-term relief may be on the way as the high pressure moves on.

"We should have a number of storms that hit the area that bring us rain, snow to the mountains, but snow levels may be higher than normal. That's not good, but we'll still take rain over nothing," said Sandler.

That should roll around sometime in mid-January.

Unfortunately, Sandler says that rain just isn’t enough to compensate the lack of precipitation as a whole his winter.

"The concern is growing. The snowpack is really low, it's about a third of normal. Up at Crater Lake, there are about two feet of snow on the ground where there’s usually six,” said Sandler.

But because last year's snowpack was high, our reservoirs are in good shape - for now.

That doesn't rule out the possibility of drought, however, as weather predictability is still up in the air.

"The long-term is a little hazy. There's a La Niña that's going on, but it's a weak La Niña. And with a weak La Niña, we've had dry years, normal years, wet years. It's been all over the board," said Sandler.

One upside to the lack of rainfall is the lessened chance of flooding, especially in our burn scar areas.

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