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Light Rain

Humidity: 80%

Wind: 16 mph

  • 25 Oct 2014

    Showers 60°F 48°F

  • 26 Oct 2014

    Rain 57°F 47°F

Winter forecasts: Colder and wetter - or maybe not

This winter's weather will be warmer and wetter than usual.

Or it might be warmer and drier.

Unless it's colder and wetter.

Those were among the predictions offered by local forecasters at the 22nd Annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference held at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on Saturday morning. The event, sponsored by the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society, included forecast by seven meteorologists — and several admissions that they could be wrong.

"We don't know what we're talking about," a KGW-TV forecaster admitted after predicting about normal temperatures and slightly longer rainy season. "The accuracy for the industry is about 55 percent, which is a little better than flipping a coin."

The admission drew laughter and applause from the standing-room-only crowd in the large conference room at OMSI. Many of them are admitted weather geeks who follow forecasts and weather-related events closely. The top prize of the raffle held at the conference was a home weather station.

The conference started as a wind storm was predicted to move through the Portland area. Recent wind gust reading from the Oregon Coast and Eugene area were announced between speakers, showing the strength of the approaching storm. The wind outside OMSI had picked up considerably by the time the conference broke up at noon.

Other forecasters included Liana Ramirez of the Portland office of the National Weather Service, former KOIN 6 News meteorologist Bruce Sussman, Kyle Dittmer of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Forecast by Pete Parson of the Oregon Department of Forestry and former Oregon state climatologist George Taylor were presented by the moderator, Oregon AMS President Steve Pierce, who recently went to work for KOIN 6 News.

None of the forecasts included heavy snow fall on the valley floors, although most hedged their bets. The presentations will be posted on the Oregon AMS website at oregonams.wordpress.com.

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