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White Wonder

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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Storms in the Elkhorn Mountains brew the business of winter. This Tuesday morning scene reveals the transition of seasons as Baker City residents undoubtedly begin preparing for another long winter.

The skiff of snow that whitened Baker City over the weekend would scarcely have been noticed last winter, when a succession of storms all but buried cars.

But the relatively early snowfall, combined with forecasts for a cold and wet winter, surely left residents wondering where they stored their roof rakes and shovels last spring.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center says the most likely pattern to predominate this winter is La Niña.

That’s marked by below-average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, and it’s a pattern strongly correlated with chilly and damp winters in the Pacific Northwest.

The Weather Service puts the odds of a La Niña pattern at 55 percent to 65 percent.

But even if that forecast proves accurate, meteorologists say it’s not likely that Oregon would see snow depths similar to last winter’s, or such prolonged periods with temperatures dipping below zero.

“It would be unlikely to be a repeat of last year,” said Dennis Hull, a meteorologist at the Weather Service’s Pendleton office.

The possibility of winter putting on an encore might cause many shoulder muscles hereabouts to give a warning twinge.

More snow fell in Baker City than any winter in at least two decades, with depths exceeding 2 feet.

See more in the Nov. 8, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.