Thin Snowpack

January 27, 2010

It’s snow survey time again…so what has changed in the past month in the Cascades? Not much. Several rainy periods interspersed with some sunshine and finally a decent dump of snow.  I notice most of the highest elevation SNOTEL sites are running in the 60-90% of average range, while the lower elevations (below 4000′) are really pitiful.  We’ve had little or no snowfall in the last 4-5 weeks below 3,000.  This location in the image is on the low side with only half of the average snowpack for this date on the ground.  So one could sum up our snowpack situation by saying it’s well below average and there COULD be water problems this summer, but it’s still early.  A wet February or March could bring us back up to average.  That said, considering we are in a full-blown El Nino Episode across the Pacific Basin, it’s unlikely we’ll get normal or above normal precipitation during the month of February or at least the first part of March.

Not much going on weatherwise for the last 4 days of the month.  February begins Monday, and it’ll be good to move on to a new month.  Do you realize almost nothing of any significance happened in January 2010 weatherwise?  Sure we had that weak south wind storm mid-month.  But we haven’t even had a frost yet in Portland or Salem!  If we don’t get a 32 degree reading at PDX by Sunday night, it’ll only be the 2nd time with a “frost-less” January here.  Remember the last one was just 4 years ago.

Looking beyond, still pretty quiet next week…splitty flow, but MAYBE a bit wetter.  We’ll see.  Next post is next Monday…I have a few days off.  Everyone behave!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen