El Nino is coming to Western Washington, meaning a warmer and drier-than-normal fall and winter in the lowlands, the National Weather Service is expected to announce Wednesday.
Sea surface temperatures warming in the central tropical Pacific Ocean is usually the first sign of El Nino.
It’s a switch from the La Nina pattern of cooler and wetter weather, which is what the region has seen the past two winters.
The last transition from La Nina to El Nino was in 2006. It’s most notably remembered for the Hanukkah Eve Windstorm which brought soaking rain and hurricane-force wind gusts, leaving more than 1 million customers without power. A surprising record rainfall combined with the wind to topple trees and trigger landslides.
More than a dozen people were killed in the aftermath, mostly from carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to use unsafe methods to stay warm. A woman drowned in her Seattle basement when flash flooding swept through Madison Valley.
The National Weather Service along with first responders and area utilities on Wednesday will outline their plans for keeping people informed in the event of bad weather.