Final Cascade Snowpack Update: New Records Set

April 2, 2015

7pm Thursday…


A new record low snow depth was reached at Mt. Hood Meadows yesterday.  Even with almost a foot of fresh powder, just 33″ of snow was on the ground.  That’s lower than the previous low record for April 1st…49″ during the other really bad season, 2004-2005.  That year we had a bunch of snow the 2nd half of March as the pattern finally recovered.

Timberline tied a record with just 57″ on the ground.  That was the 1980-1981 season.  Records at both locations (at least online) go back to the early 1970s.

As you see in the graphic, 4 ski areas in the Washington Cascades set record lows as well.  I noticed Paradise up on Mt. Rainier was less than 10″ from its record low; impressive since records there go back to 1926!

Hopefully this was a “once in a generation” snow season.  In every other year since at least 1970 there was a recovery sometime between January and March, this year that didn’t happen.

Here are the April 1st numbers from around the state…pretty bad as expected:



What’s ahead?  More snow!  Looks great for skiing on Saturday and again early next week:


Beyond that time we have some warmer weather (and some melting) the middle and latter part of next week.

The models/maps beyond the middle of next week are in quite a bit of disarray.  Take a look at the 12z ECMWF ensembles showing another cold trough for NEXT weekend, the 12th:


Then by day 15 the ECMWF and GEM (ensembles) both have a return of ridging and warm temps:

ecm_15days gem_15days

meanwhile the 18z GFS has the cold trough just to our south much stronger for more cool & showery weather:


See the difference here?  As a result I don’t have much confidence in a general outlook except it’ll be a bit warmer/dry later next week and then likely another round of cold showers around the 11th-12th.

Here is last night’s ECMWF monthly run…the weekly average 500mb height from its ensembles.

Week 1 & 2, you can see the ridging around 12-15 days out on the 2nd map:



Week 3, looks cooler again


Week 4, not a whole lot to see here.


Interesting that there is no sign of the east Pacific ridge returning, except during the 2nd week or so.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen