Will the Puget Sound region enjoy a normal summer this year -- you know, that sun-filled period Seattle denizens enjoy for a few weeks between July 4 and late September?
It's definitely possible, according to government scientists.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that La Nina -- the cyclical cooling of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean -- is easing and should be over in April.
That, according to NOAA, means weather patterns should return to normal, probably by May, and remain that way through the 2012 summer.
But don't get too excited, as La Nina's effects will continue through the spring. "Over the U.S. during March - May 2012, La Niña is associated with an increased chance of above-average temperatures across the south-central U.S., and below-average temperatures in the northwestern U.S.," NOAA said. "Also, above-average precipitation is favored across western Washington, the Ohio Valley, and lower Great Lakes, while drier-than-average conditions are more likely across Florida, the Gulf Coast, and the southwestern U.S."
La Nina is what has generated a cool, wet, snowy winter for the Pacific Northwest -- at least since Jan. 1 of this year. Last year was a La Nina year too.