Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Snow! (In the Mountains)

One of you asked about the snow in the mountains...well, the snowpack has recovered quite nicely the last week or so...take a look at the map. Southern and central Cascades..western slopes and crest..are now above normal. The northern Cascades and Okanogan have gotten some...but still are about 25-35% below normal.
We had a cold winter and the spring is no better. Look at the temps at Sea Tac versus climo...generally below normal temps. In fact, of the last 100 days, approximately 75 have been below normal. So the complaints I have heard are well founded. I really hope we don't repeat last spring, which according to my Barbeque index, was the coldest since 1918! Two cold springs in a row will not only be bad for my vegetable garden, but would really be a downer. Good for water supply and late season skiing though.

24 comments:

andycottle said...

Certainly has been cool the last few days and was over at the CPC site this evening, and it appears that showing below normal temps for us for the 8-14 day period.

Say Cliff...when you get your veggie garden going, can we here on your blog see what it looks like?

Jane said...

I blame last year's long cold and damp Spring for the dearth of the little Polistes aurifer paper wasps who have quietly shared my greenhouse rafters for years. Did anyone else miss their usual colonies?
I also credit the same weather with a relative shortage of bald-face hornet and yellow-jacket encounters last summer. Almost seems a fair trade.

HarrisonCZ7 said...

The Olympics are only 63% of average?! That seems amazing! Well, it's good that the central and southern cascades have responded well. Snowmobiling in Chelan might be a little tough with only 66 % of normal...thanks again for an informative post.

Paul said...

Current BBQI Score: Portland 4, Seattle 0

CC said...

Speaking of snow, again, can you please explain why the UW probabalistic forecast is so woefully bad at predicting mountain precip. Last night and today we (near Stevens Pass) had 1.7 " of precip (20 " of snow). Predicted "likely amount" was 0.2", "as much as" was 1.07". This is the third storm cycle in a row where it predicted almost an order of magnitude less precip than we received and even 10% chance max was too low. Incidently, NWS point forecast prediction was 1.4."

Joan Neslund said...

Holden Village
11 Miles S Stehekin WA
48.2°N 120.75°W (Elev. 3224 ft)

We finally hit 200 inches of snow yesterday. We had periods of bright, warm sun yesterday mixed with about 5 inches of snow.

We are close to what we would consider a low normal year of snow pack. The January 5 inches of rain still frozen in our snowpack will give us an ok fire season.

cliff4mayor said...

Hi Cliff-

I'd like to take this opportunity to officially nominate you as a candidate in the race for mayor of Seattle. You'd have no shortage of campaign volunteers, and you already have a start on your platform with the coastal radar issue, not to mention snow removal management. Good luck.

-Cliff4Mayor

Joan Neslund said...

CC, I am north of you a ways and I have found the opposite true for this winter. Time and time again snow accum has been predicted and we get 1/4 of what was stated. Even in January when over ten inches of rain was predicted, we only go 4 inches. You must be getting our weather, perhaps I will read yours and apply it to here.

Teresa said...

A little off topic, but Denver is apparently having blizzard conditions and expecting 19 inches of snow.

Is it spring yet?

climo man said...

It looks like this year that the cascade snow depth will peak in April, a few weeks later than usual

climo man said...

It looks like this year that the cascade snow depth will peak in April, a few weeks later than usual

climo man said...

Cliff:
There`s a relatively little known, but very interesting, offshoot of climatology called phenology.It`s the study of biological phenomena such as the development of plants and the emergence, migration, and breeding of insects and animals.I`ve been partaking in this science for over 30 years, by recording when the first flowers of various fruit trees, shrubs, and perennials in my orchard and garden open.For example, I have a plum tree that should begin blooming tomorrow, March 27th.The same tree first bloomed last year on March 11th. It`s more than two weeks later than last year--hard to believe, but true.The same tree began blooming on March 11th in 2007, Feb 27th in 2006, and Feb 18th in 2005.So you can see that this particular tree is blooming five weeks later than five years ago.By keeping such data,I can check my garden at any point from January through June and get a pretty precise comparison of how far ahead or behind it is to previous years. Bt the way, the blooming cycle here so far is the latest since the cold springs of 1975 and 1976.It is also interesting to note how in some years the trees and plants may start off behind, but end up ahead of previous years due to above normal temps later in the spring.And vice versa, too. I encourage all of those who are gardeners and keep weather data to also keep phenological tables--you will find them intersting and very useful.

Cliff Mass Weather Blog said...

The difference between the flowering times this year and other years is really fascinating. Anyone have more of such info?..cliff

Philanthus said...

My native indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) is usually in full bloom by late february/very early march. This year it broke buds (both leaves and flowers) at the usual time, then just stopped. Only in the past few days have the leaves finally started to grow and the flowers open. Flip a coin for too cool vs. too dry (I tend to think too dry, since they were on time last year).

I've seen even fewer bumblebee queens than last year, though that could be because I haven't been out as much myself.

Jane: your missing Polistes aurifer are as likely to be victims of a new invasive species of European paper wasp, Polistes dominula, that hit Seattle in 2004 as of the weather. I haven't seen a native paper wasp in my yard since 2006 (even hunting), but the europeans are -everywhere- all summer, including repeatedly trying to nest in my mailbox. They aren't particularly aggressive to humans, but they breed very fast and seem to be outcompeting our natives for nest sites and food. Back east they've been causing problems for cavity nesting birds, too, and may do the same here eventually. See one, squish one! And better early in the year than late. (The invaders are small, about yellowjacket size but skinny with more black.)

HarrisonCZ7 said...

This what the Spokane guys have to say...this could be a doozer on Saturday...

ALL EYES STILL REMAIN ON THE LATER PORTION OF SATURDAY FORECAST.
THE 18Z GFS AND 00Z NAM ARE BOTH BRINGING A DEEP TROPOPAUSE FOLD
OVER THE CASCADES AND VERTICAL THETA-E PROFILE SUGGEST CONSERVATION
OF THETA-E WOULD ALLOW MOMENTUM OF 50-65 KTS TO MIX TO THE
SURFACE. THIS WOULD MEAN WIDESPREAD WINDS IN THE 30-40 MPH RANGE
WITH GUSTS OVER 60 MPH IN THE FAVORED LOCATIONS...WHICH AT THIS
TIME LOOK TO BE WENATCHEE...THE WATERVILLE PLATEAU...THE
PALOUSE...AND THE WEST PLAINS OF SPOKANE. HIGHLIGHTS WILL LIKELY
BE REQUIRED FOR WIND AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES THROUGH SATURDAY
EVENING. /FRIES

Mattias Keese said...
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Mattias Keese said...
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Mattias Keese said...
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Vincent said...

Thread hijack:

Sailoers in a race tomorrow from Shishole south to Three Tree Point are puzzled about divergent forecasts:

Yeah... the forecast seems a bit confusing.

NOAA thinks it's going to blow - 20+ with gusts to 37...

UWMM5 forecast much more moderate conditions - light to 15 knot southerly.

Sailflow is similar to MM5.

And FMNOC shows that the breeze isn't really showing up until Saturday evening."


Any comment, Cliff? We (the sailors) got hammered last race and were kind of hoping for somemoderation tomorrow.

Vincent said...

SAilors in a race tomorrow (shilshole south to three treee point) are confused by the forecast:

"NOAA thinks it's going to blow - 20+ with gusts to 37...

UWMM5 forecast much more moderate conditions - light to 15 knot southerly.

Sailflow is similar to MM5.

And FMNOC shows that the breeze isn't really showing up until Saturday evening."

We got poinded last race-- any comfort for us Cliff?

Which to believe?

Mattias Keese said...

Cliff-
Any thoughts on snow chances tomorrow? WRF now brings the low in well south of the Sound and keeps temps marginally cool enough for lowland snow, especially for us here on Kitsap. Considering nobody is forecasting this at all, I think it could be a pretty big surprise with many areas getting a couple inches of snow. Looks tough for accumulating snow near the water, but anybody on a hill looks to stand a decent chance IMO. 1000 foot temps are around 33 most of the day tomorrow on the WRF and there is widespread precip.

olyroller said...

Cliff and climo man:

There are many models out there that predict things such as flowering time, bud burst, etc. based on "chilling" hours and "forcing" hours. These models are species-specific, like for peaches or Douglas-fir, but recent research suggests there are temperature ranges that are particularly effective across a number of species. Differences in actual flowering, bud burst, etc. are determined in part by threshold requirements. Recent research also suggests an overlap of chilling and forcing fulfillment under certain temperature ranges and plant conditions, but that's beyond this scope.

Climo man, here's a parallel observation down here in Olympia: The Farmer's Market parking lot is planted with ornamental plum trees that, unfortunately, are usually done blooming before the market resumes- the first week of April. This year, however, the blooming is just starting and shoppers should delight in the show. Presumably, the landscape designers intended for there to be some overlap with the actual market season. Knowldege of their cultivars and flowering models would have helped them increase the odds of picking trees that bloomed when the market was open.

Julia said...

Plant bloom tracking is interesting. Have been keeping track of crocus in a particular spot that have typically bloomed at the end of Jan 31- Feb 4. This year at least three weeks later than that.

Elinor said...

On Bainbridge Island, forsythia bloom (an early indicator of the transition out of spring) is markedly delayed this year, 3 weeks to be sure, maybe 4. While species do of course differ, this indicator is consistent for what I see in flowering trees, daffodils, maple buds and many other species this year.