The Best Early Snow in Years

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Here in the Northwest, we are enjoying one of the most bountiful early snow periods in years.  Crystal Mountain ski area opened yesterday and Mount Baker opens tomorrow.   

Want to be impressed?  Below is the current percentage of normal snowpack, and specifically the snow water equivalent (SWE, the total amount of water in the snow) of the snow that has piled up so far.  

Amazing.  The entire Northwest is not only above normal, but WAY about normal, like 441% of normal in the Olympics.  The kind of map that skiers and water managers like to see.

But let me make this even more concrete.  The graphics below show the snow depth this year versus the last two years.  Notice a difference?   Huge.

This Year

                                                Last Year                                    Two Years Ago

And there is more positive news.  Here is the latest UW forecast for accumulated snow over the next week.  Major additions, with as much as three feet of snow at higher elevations and plenty over northeast Washington.  You may not be able to go to Whistler this year, but no worries:   plenty of local snow for downhill and cross country skiing.

Another positive is that there are no major warm-ups forecast for the next week, so don’t worry about any rain on the snow.    We expect more snow than normal during a La Nina year, but generally that occurs after January 1.    This year we are starting early.   

At this point, the the outlook for a good snowpack going into spring and summer is an encouraging one.

I will have a new podcast tomorrow…both the forecast and a discussion of the great windstorms that have hit the Northwest.

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