El Nino Effects Slip Into March

February 24, 2010

A nice dump of snow up on the mountain today, but it only briefly dropped a few inches down around 4,000′.  The heavier stuff was all up around 5,000′ and above.  A few days ago I had hope that maybe we might shake off the dead El Nino weather symptoms, but looking at the latest models we appear to have more of the same on the way.  One can’t say it’s been an extremely dry winter by any means, but we sure have seen a long period of wimpy and splitting weather systems moving in off the Pacific.  The 00z GFS continues the trend through at least the first week of March.  We get a wet warm front tomorrow evening (more rain in the passes), then a cold front early Friday.  The southern end of that trough splits off and heads to our south Saturday, leaving us with leftover light showers.  We wait for another system later Monday or Tuesday, but that one splits quite a bit too, as seen in the 500mb maps.

A bit more disturbing is the reappearance of some sort of upper level ridging up in Western Canada in the 10-15 day period.  Yeah, I know that’s way out there, but even the ECMWF wasn’t all that wet.  So the general message is that our relatively boring winter is going to continue into early March.    The only positive news is that any sort of ridging over us in early March means warmer and sunnier weather as we kick out of inversion season.  We don’t get strong easterly wind after the first week of March either…so winter is probably just going to fade away over the next 10 days.

I’m interested to see how March turns out.  Some El Nino years we turn wet later in March, in others we’ve remained mild and drier than normal.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen