Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Cold Air and Snow Back in the Northwest

It is snowing right now at Stampede Pass at 4000 ft in the central Washington Cascades.  At Stevens Pass, at a similar altitude, there is snow and slush on the roadway (see below).  An image that will warm the heart of any Northwest skier.


The upper level pattern associated with the influx of cold and precipitation is a classic and may be familiar to a regular reader of this blog (see below).  This 500 hPa pressure level map (about 18,000 ft above sea level) shows a big ridge of higher pressure/heights over the Pacific, with a sharp, well-defined trough moving southward into the Northwest.

Memorize this pattern.  It is the one that brings lowland snow after November 15th.   Alas, temperatures are too warm for that  this early in the season (something that brings a smile to all snow-challenged Seattle mayors).


Satellite imagery show cold, unstable air approaching western Washington and Oregon.  You see the popcorn like elements off the coast?  Those are convective showers--intermittent rain for us near sea level, snow showers above roughly 4000 ft.


With westerly (from the west) flow aloft, the western side of the mountains will get plenty of precipitation as the air is forced upwards.  To illustrate, here is the forecast total through 5 PM tomorrow.  1-2 inches of precipitation could fall west of the Cascade crest and profound rain shadowing over the Columbia Basin of eastern Washington.   Want dry conditions and some sun?   It is available.


But what many of you really want to know about is snow.  The forecast total through 5 AM tomorrow (Wednesday) shows snow above roughly 3300 ft, with up to a half-foot in favored locations.  The Rockies and its eastern slopes get hit hard again.


And for snow/cold lovers I have more good news.  The Blob offshore is weakening with sea surface temperatures off the Northwest coast returning to near normal.

Want more good news?  The latest European Center 46-day forecast is going for colder than normal temperatures through November 22 (see below, blue color is below-normal temperatures).   Time to wax your skis.

Image courtesy of WeatherBell

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My blog on UW College of the Environment Censoring of Social Media is Here.


14 comments:

  1. Cliff
    All the ski areas except Bachelor were getting snow as of 8:30 this AM per their web cams. This fall is certainly starting out cool.

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  2. . . . [singing] let it snow, let it snow, let it snow . . .

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  3. Woke to Blue skies and snow capped peaks this morning near Twisp after a windy night at 2700'.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson gave a good talk about how scientists aren't trained in communication and maybe aren't satisfactorily relaying the urgent needs of climate change to the public.

    He said that if you went into a doctor's office and were offered a pill that scientists say had a 3% chance of curing your disease or offered you a pill that scientists say had a 97% chance of curing your disease which pill would you take?

    Chris H.
    Heli-free North Cascades

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    Replies
    1. If 97% of psychiatrists diagnosed you with neurosis, would you opt for a lobotomy?

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    2. the question is, do you accept science? If yes, then it's odd to cherry pick which science you will accept and which you will not, based on political or economic ideology.

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    3. What are yountaking about heli guy?

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  4. Thank you Cliff! Would you care to comment on AccuWeather's 2019 predictions?
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/accuweathers-2019-2020-us-winter-forecast/ar-AAIaIhX
    Thank you again!
    Gordon

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  5. Chris H - Tyson also stated that nations shouldn't have borders. Should we follow that advice as well?

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    Replies
    1. haha, I disagree with a statement made by Neil deGrasse Tyson, therefore I will disagree with all of Neil deGrasse Tyson's statements. hahahaa, science!

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    2. Hi Eric, Neil is a certainly an idealist but then again so am I.I dream of world peace, because that is surly the ideal.

      Is this case he asks a valid question. I'm curious if you would take the pill that has only a 3% survival rate over one that offers a 97% percent cure rate?

      I guess maybe Neil's question doesn't address those who do not believe they have a disease that needs curing even though the symptoms suggest that is the case.

      Chris H.
      Heli-free North Cascades

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  6. We had morning snow at 1400 ft in Glacier...I grabbed the camera and took photos.

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  7. Oh I like the 46 day outlook....

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  8. Live in the Columbia Gorge. Just had my propane tank refilled. As luck would have it, the interval was 183 days in both 2018 and 2019, with a one-day shift. I track the numbers. We use propane for a furnace that backs up the heat pump when temps go below freezing; for a double-sided fireplace that heats the master bedroom and living room; for cooking, and for instant hot water.

    The 2019 propane use, in gallons, was 63% higher in 2019 than in 2018. The only change was the weather. Summer '19 days weren't as hot, and summer '19 nights were much cooler, which caused us to use the fireplace on plenty of summer nights. Spring arrived late, and fall arrived early, which compressed the period where we turned off the system.

    Oh, yeah, the cult will talk about weather vs. climate. But the minute it goes the other way, they'll yell about global warming. And then they wonder why normal people don't believe them.

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  9. Cliff I am curious about the blob because the weather channel just put out a video today saying the blob is here to stay, not going anywhere anytime soon, yet your saying it’s going away, two very different view points, I would think it’s either one way or the other...I would not think this is an opinion, but an actual fact based thing.... Thanks, Mabey a blog on the blob....

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