AccuWeather Forecast: Northwest Could See Winter Weather as Soon as October

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Soak in those perfectly cool fall temperatures and any pumpkin-flavored treats while you can. Forecasters at AccuWeather this week predicted winter weather could arrive in the Pacific Northwest as early as this month.

AccuWeather's long-term winter forecast predicts an early and wet start to winter weather in the Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains driven by the weather phenomenon known as La Niña.

"Forecasters say winter could arrive early in some spots across the United States," AccuWeather said in a video forecast Thursday. "The Northwest and Rockies could see the season arrive in October while the Northern Plains and Northeast could see their winter arrive a few weeks later."

La Niña occurs when Pacific Ocean water near the equator is cooler than average, which changes the way storms move across North America. AccuWeather long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said this year's La Niña would be weaker than last year, so the Northwest might not see as much stormy weather.

The polar vortex might also be weaker this year, AccuWeather predicted. That could allow colder Arctic air to move into the United States before the start of meteorological winter Dec. 1.

Still, winter is expected to be plenty wet with enough snow in the mountains for a healthy snowpack for skiers looking to hit slopes across the Pacific Northwest.

Forecasters said the early winter storms would also end the wildfire season as rain and snow help to put out remaining fires. In Washington state, two wildfires are active, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

The wet winter would offer some reprieve to what has been a particularly dry summer for the region. AccuWeather claimed it was the driest spring and summer in Seattle in the last 77 years, with the city experiencing just 41 days with rain.

The National Weather Service in Seattle on Friday offered some tips for preparing for the coming winter. The weather service suggested creating an emergency kit for the car that includes warm clothes, jumper cables, bottled water, a flashlight, snacks and a cellphone charger.

The weather service also suggested people gather supplies for power outages and clear storm drains and gutters of debris.

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