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PNS Daily Newscast - September 25, 2020 

Democrats reported to be preparing a smaller pandemic relief package; vote-by-mail awaits a court decision in Montana.

2020Talks - September 25, 2020 

Senators respond to President Donald Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. And, former military and national security officials endorse Joe Biden.

Weird WA Winters - A Climate Change Wakeup Call?

February 1, 2010

SEATTLE - NASA says 2009 was the second-warmest year on record for the planet, and no matter what people believe is the cause of global warming, its effects are being felt here in Washington. With the exception of the Olympic peninsula, snowpack is below normal around the state, and experts say extreme weather events will become more common as climates shift.

In a new report about weather anomalies for the National Wildlife Federation, climate scientist Dr. Amanda Staudt says weird weather often means the wrong kinds of precipitation, at the wrong times of year.

"Last year in January, there was a really good example of this. The Seattle area got ten inches of rain in two days. On top of that, that rain melted a lot of snow that was already on the ground, so they had major flooding; they had to close the Interstate."

This month, she says, the shorter, milder winter is also a big, expensive concern for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The current outlook through April shows above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall amounts for Washington. The federal Climate Prediction Center says it could be the result of El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean, although Dr. Staudt says climate change could also be at work.

"If you go back and look at the data over the last century, we haven't seen any trend in our El Ninos, we haven't seen a big change in them. Right now, the science is out on that question and it's an area where people are actively looking."

Over the longer term, if Northwest temperatures climb another three or four degrees, the Washington Department of Ecology predicts the kinds of droughts the state typically experiences every ten years would occur every other year.

The report, "Oddball Winter Weather: Global Warming's Wake-Up Call for the Northern United States," is available online at

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA