March 03, 2012

One Last Shot at Lowland Snow and a Salty Story

We are running out of time for lowland snow.    As I have noted in earlier blogs, we have had significant lowland snows the first week of March, but after that it becomes increasingly rare.  But with that said, the current forecast models suggest the potential for some light snow over portions of western Washington, on Monday and early Tuesday.  Not a lot, but enough to get the TV folks excited and to raise concerns of local mayors.

But first we will have a splendid Sunday...relatively warm (50s) and sunny.  Nice enough you will think about your garden.   A fairly strong front will move through after midnight on Monday (see graphic), with a band of heavy rain and strong, gusty winds.  Behind the front, temperatures will rapidly cool down, so that later on Monday the air will be cold enough for snow, particularly in heavier showers.

The we have seen that there won't be much moisture after the front, so snow shows will mainly be limited to any convergence zones, Strait of Juan de Fuca cloud bands, and other local features, as well as in the mountains.  Here is the 24-h snowfall total from the WRF model for the period ending 4 AM on Tuesday.  Large totals in the Cascades, with light snow reaching the lowlands north of Seattle into NW WA.  Not a big event for the lowlands.
After midweek the models, including the highly skillful European Center (ECMWF) ensembles, indicate a profound change in regime for us, switching cold and wet to warm and wet--as the flow turns southwesterly from substantial troughing over the eastern Pacific.

To illustrate here is the ECWMF upper level (500 hPa) forecasts for the ensembles (left panel) and high-res forecast (right panel) for next Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday.  No chance of snow with them!   And after that it will be too late for much chance of lowland white stuff.  Yes, there have been some freak events of a few inches, but the chances of those are slim and the sun is getting very strong, very fast.  Remember solar radiation increases more rapidly day by day this time of the year than any other.

A Salty Tale

On an amusing side, a few weeks ago I chatted with the head of communications of the Salt Institute, a salt lobby group.  Well, he wrote an article that has been making its way around papers throughout the country (read here).  This story talks about the political benefits of mayors having a pro-salt policy, and uses Mayor McGinn as the poster child of an enlightened mayor.   To quote the bottom line of the story:

"Smart officials will keep at least a year's supply on hand to ensure lives and commerce are protected. And it also doesn't hurt come re-election time."

 But they don't stop there!  There have a video by the SALT GURU!  Click on the picture below to see his informative examination of Seattle salt use and politics:

This video is a person jumps out of a car before his car skids on some ice.  Cars bounce around like bumper cars.


  1. That salt guru shows a video shot in Portland as his "before" video. Facts?? Who needs 'em?!

  2. yeah, i think that bumper car vid is Portland but with a k5 logo??? And the first clip is in Denver. So I assume the after salt shot isn't in Seattle either.

  3. The salt shot is taken in downtown Bellevue.

  4. Don't know about other places, but Bellevue was not nice on Sunday. Pouring rain in the morning, cloudy and drizzle until mid day. I'd say the forecast for warm and sunny was a total miss.


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