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Forecasters say winter could feature "Pineapple Express" this year

October 25th, 2012 - 6:19am

(Port Angeles) - Forecasters who thought Washington was in for a warmer, drier El Nino winter say the outlook has shifted to a more neutral pattern.

But neutral doesn't mean uneventful. National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist Ted Buehner says there's a "good shot" of a "pineapple express." That's a system of heavy rain coming from the direction of Hawaii that can hit the Northwest like a fire hose.

For the Olympic Peninsula Buehner says officials area paticularly concerned about the Elwha River if acute flooding issues occur.

"There's a lot of sediment left to flush through the stream," Beuhner tells KONP. "The stream channel can and will evolve, but it remains to be seen what might happen during high-water events."

Beuhner says it's not know yet what might happen to areas around the Elwha if there is a significant flooding event without both dams holding back the water.

A three-day pineapple express storm system in November 2006 sent some Western Washington rivers to record high flows.

The neutral pattern is between the El Nino and La Nina patterns which are named for Pacific Ocean warming or cooling and affect the weather worldwide.

The area was under La Nina conditions the past two winters.

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