Thin Snowpack

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

249 Responses to Thin Snowpack

  1. k5mitch says:

    44.9 F and very boring…
    here is a shot I took yesterday (well it is really 4 shots put together)looking from B.V. Falls lookout to Washington St. it is a large file…

  2. Gidrons says:

    This is borderline political but it is weather related and the models are slow.

    You may have heard that the new federal budget kills the return to the moon program. Some of the money is being redirected. From the AP story “NASA: Good night moon, hello new rocket technology” “….NASA will also spend an additional $2.5 billion over five years for more research on how global warming is affecting Earth, including replacing a carbon dioxide monitoring satellite that crashed last year….NASA’s yearly budget is $19 billion.”

    • O.C.Paul says:

      “Global Warming” a concept so compelling, it’s worth lying for. It’s not science, it’s politics. Besides, why spend all that money?
      Al says “it’s settled. Don’t start me….

  3. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    ***Record of weather (Since Dec. 1995), all average based off of KVUO 1971-2000.

    I measured 6.05″ of precip, my first above average (+0.31″) month since last May.

    2nd highest mean temp for January: +5.7 degrees, (was +6.0 in 2006)

    All time-highest January minimum temperature: 31.4 (was 31.2 in 2006)

    First completely snow-less (not even a trace) January since 2003.

    Cloudy: 26 days (where 80% of the sky was covered the majority of the day)

    Rainfall: 27 days


    Avg High: 49 (+4.4)
    Avg Low: 39.4 (+7)


  4. muxpux says:

    down to 35 here in Longview last night, thought it was gonna be a frosty morning, but like so many others, woke up to rain, and 40, lol.

    NWS calling for T-storms here wednesday…anyone else see reason for this?

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      I noticed the T-storm call as well. Hopefully they’re on to something.

  5. storm says:

    so is winter over?. no snow?.. what do u guys see?.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Pretty much… Unless the models make a complete about face soon. There have been blips of borderline events but they are all far to out and disappear by the next model run.

      I wouldn’t completely call the chances of snow dead until the models start showing March inside the 10 day range. Once you get past the first few weeks of March game is over for snow (for the most part).

  6. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) says:

    January had the biggest monthly departure from mean since I started record keeping at my station in January 2001.

    The average monthly temperature was 44.8⁰, a departure of +5.3⁰!! That easily eclipses 4.4⁰ which I have had both positive and negative values for. KHIO was +5.1⁰

    Here the stats for my station for January 2010:

    Average Max: 50.8
    Average Min: 40.2
    Mean: 44.8 +5.3

    It also was a least partly cloudy here every day of the month, and had measurable precipitation on 26 days of the month. Despite that rainfall was still slightly below average, continuing the trend of below average rainfall since Dec 2007. There have been 4 months with average or above precipitation out of the last 25 here in the Portland metro area. Rainfall was good in the Coast Range with my Gales Creek site coming in at about 11.5” One should note that that was all rainfall and there is no low elevation snowpack.

    The bigger story is that there were no freezes here in Hillsboro during January, something pretty much unheard of! For instance, another very warm January 2006 had 3 days at or below freezing. I will have to review my records but I expect that this may be the first time that this has happened since records have been kept in Hillsboro, or it is a very rare event.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      We have you beat here in Salem. According to the nws the average mean temperature in Salem in January was +5.9 degrees. Astounding.

  7. Runrain says:

    You may not know it, but Hollywood has taken note of our unusual winter weather here in the Northwest and will be putting out these summer blockbusters:

    Splitorgeist – Dozens of weather bloggers return home from a late evening at work, only to find their TV sets permanently tuned in to Mark Nelsen showing 30 day WV loops of storm systems approaching the coast and spliting. Over and over and over again! The following morning, TV sets begin mysteriously show up outside of residential front doors from Eugene to Everett.

    EW: The East Wind – Aliens disguised as humans converge upon Crown Point in an attempt to contact their planet. They raise strange spinning, cupped communication devices in their futile attempts. They convince the human population with a far fetched story about wanting to experience and measure 100mph winds.

    Jaws VIII – The Chompers – KPTV weather bloggers are shown live radar images of green, yellow and red blobs approaching the Oregon coast range during subfreezing weather, only to be maliciously chewed up and spit out onto Forest Grove.

    A new TV show is also in the works CSI Vista House. The crack investigative team attempts to explain the mysterious tumbling of a popular news reporter. Did she fall, or was she pushed?!?!?!? An local meteorologist is named as a prime suspect. The team also investigates mysterious reports of Christmas trees decending ominously on the citizens of Troutdale.

    Finally, Jimmy Buffet treats to the release of his new CD – Barometer Coup. In the lead track called This Joint Pains Me, Buffet exhorts the tale of 5 flabby bloggers who observe ridiculously low barometer reading while writing in pain, claiming that a windstorm is sure to come.

  8. Jory (Sandy) says:

    According to Cliff Mass, January broke the old record of warmest January on record in Seattle. Don’t you just love El Nino?
    Wonder how Portland ended up for the month?

  9. Cherie in Vernonia says:

    NWS thunderstorms Wed?? Comments?

  10. Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

    I wonder if Punxsutawney Phil will agree with the GFS tomorrow… this morning’s 12z says that winter is pretty much over, at least for PDX.

  11. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Wow, Mount Rainier:

  12. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Looks like a nice sunrise at Bend, for now:

    If you miss the sunrise, save the site…it’s a nice streaming one to watch summer thunderstorms!

  13. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    A bit chilly in eastern Oregon

  14. Ron says:

    From Pete Parsons website for the ODA. No real surprises here.

    Click to access dlongrange.pdf

  15. Annie in Vancouver ~330 ft. says:

    After waking up to pretty dense fog, the rain has washed it away. I think my temp is the coldest it’s been in a while at 38.3.

    • Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

      Ya Annie…same here. I was thinking the rain would hold off until early afternoon…Guess no hiking today as I am a fair weather hiker! LOL

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      I had a brief period where frost covered the windows of the cars last night about 11:30pm. Woke up to dry conditions yet freshly rained on cars and 41.

    • Runrain says:

      I fertilized the lawn yesterday (moss control) so glad the rains came early to disolve and force the granules down.

  16. Karl Bonner says:

    I notice the upcoming week is more wet than dry…not good news for viewing Mars, but perhaps it means that any strong ridges will hold off until after about the 10th of the month…when the sun will be getting strong enough to generate some meaningful heat!

  17. yevpolo1990 says:

    man i am so sad of this January…(rolls back in a ball and hibernates)

  18. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    In February we can still get snow storms and such. Issue is the current El Nino and the split jet stream… As long as that’s around we can basically just forget any significant excitement as far as winter weather goes.

    Don’t quote me on this but I seem to recall about 4/5 years ago we had an El Nino winter and same like this year we had the split jet stream and the ski resorts were pretty much making their own snow… I hate El Ninos.

    • Karl Bonner says:

      That was in 2005, which also brought an unprecedented early-season warm spell to western Oregon. The warm period started immediately after Valentine’s and continued until about March 10. Then a cool wet spring afterwards…

  19. WEATHERDAN says:

    # Extreme Cold in February 1933
    A cold outbreak brought a surge of Arctic air into the state. The city of Seneca and in Ukiah, in northeast Oregon, both recorded the state’s all-time record low temperature of -54 degrees F. The next day it was nearly 100 degrees warmer when the high reached 45 degrees. According to the nws it can get very cold in February.

  20. stevied (North Portland) says:

    00z GFS… yet another riveting model run. NOT.

  21. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Shallow ground fog on sr-503 combined with a nearly full moon rising over silver star mtn. Quite nice..
    Its 40 degrees Partly Cloudy at BG lake at 830pm

  22. Mr Data says:

    Severe Moon Watch? *stupid reply feature* 😛

  23. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    URGENT—-Check out the moon to the east…huge and beautiful!

  24. Just think, 60 years ago we were in sub-zero weather…

    Just think, today was the last chance for a day below freezing for this month!..

    46.3F….0.08″ rain

  25. alohabb says:

    Wow, my Cherry Blossom Tree has buds on it!! I have to say I am ready for Spring! Although it looks as if I now need to brink out my lawnmower! (CRAP!)

    Rob, good to see you back!

  26. Runrain says:

    Yes, Rob. We’re FLABergasted to see you back. Its simply FLABulous to have you here again. Just absolutely FLABtastic!

  27. Runrain says:

    Yes, Rob. We’re FLABergasted to have you back. Really, its FLABulous to have you back. Simply FLABtastic!!

  28. Mr Data says:

    The only weather more boring then this is a (super) pineapple express that washes the remaining snow pack away and gives us something like 4 inches of rain for KSLE and 5 inches for Portland.

    Aww crap I hope the devil didn’t read this……………………..:(

  29. eflow says:

    Winter’s over…bring on summer 🙂

    • Mr Data says:

      100+ Heat and a 2 weeks of 90F weather+Crowded pools and stagnation air equals What fun! 😮

      BRING IT ON!

      Here comes the AC!

    • PDX Weather Nut says:

      Eflow, winter never seemed to happen in the first place this year. I hope that we won’t be breaking the record for 90 degree days and seeing those 100 + temps. It’s very abnormal for Portland when you look back at the history books. After all the longtime motto for summers here was “you don’t need a/c in Portland”. Sadly those days seem to have long gone.

    • Karl Bonner says:

      I think the no-AC proverb about the Willamette Valley and Portland came about in the 1960s and ’70s, which happened to be a period of relatively cool summers. Had AC hit the market decades earlier when we were in a warm-summer phase, I bet it would have been installed in most Portland, Salem and Eugene buildings all along.

  30. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Boring? Indeed, but there has been a number of sun breaks today. Very nice to see that.

    • biochemist says:

      The raspberry plants saw the sun too, and are starting to leaf out. Oh scary. If we have one cold snap or frosty morning, which we will, the new growth and crop will suffer. Are the orchards budding out too in this very mild weather?

    • Rhododendrons are budding now too…it seems a bit early for that right now.

  31. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Anyone check out the 300mb model? The southern jet is poised to dive even further south even into mainland Mexico.

    Yep, that’s right, into Mexico…. At times even clearing the southern tip of Baja California.
    I can’t remember the last time I saw it dip this far south.

    Oh and thanks for the comments it is greatly appreciated.

  32. wwm says:

    man, if its not going to do SOMETHING out… then lets get to spring thunderstorms.

    Great to see you back Rob!

    back to el stinko

    • Matthew says:

      Agreed if we could have a midwest like thunderstorms that produced tornadoes. I would go chasing around the area and have some fun.

  33. Aloha Rainshadow says:

    Can you think of any weather that would be MORE boring????

%d bloggers like this: