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New Puget Sound winter forecast ripe for Pineapple Express

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)

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.

About the Author

Chris Sullivan is a traffic reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He cares deeply about the amount of time you spend sitting in Seattle traffic.


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