Flooding 2006
A home flooded by the Skagit River is shown from the air Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006 near Mount Vernon, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)

New Puget Sound winter forecast ripe for Pineapple Express

Forget El Nino and say 'hello' to the Pineapple Express.

The long-range weather forecast has changed. Western Washington is no longer looking at a warmer and drier winter as predicted in September. Forecasters say we'll have a 'neutral' winter, which means warmer and wetter weather.

Ted Buehner, with the National Weather Service in Seattle, said conditions are right for the jet stream to host a Pineapple Express, which brings warm and wet weather into the Pacific Northwest from Hawaii.

"It behaves kind of like a fire hose," Buehner explained. "It is coming live and direct from the Hawaiian Islands, so it can produce a lot of rainfall in a relatively short period of time, several days, and produce a lot of flooding in a short amount of time."

The November 2006 Pineapple Express sent many Western Washington rivers to record flood levels.

If you're trying to figure out what a 'neutral' winter looks like, the last time we had one, in 2008-2009, we received a lot of snow in December. Check out Dave's Commentary from Dec. 18, 2009

Buehner said El Nino could make a delayed appearance around the holidays and into next year, but it would be considered a weak El Nino year. The last El Nino winter was in 2009-2010.

La Nina was present last winter (2011-2012), which if you don't remember, included a lot of snow and an ice storm in January. Check the charts.


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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