June 07, 2021

The Cool Drought-Buster Weekend Storm...and More is On the Way!

Between strong fronts and an active Puget Sound convergence zone, a large amount of rain for June has fallen west of the Cascade crest. 

Over the past 48-h, the regional view shows 1-1.5 inches south of the Olympics, a similar amount in Snohomish County, and 2-4 inches in the Cascade foothills northeast of Seattle.  About .8  inches fell around Seattle, over half of the normal monthly total.


The radar-based precipitation totals over the past few days are impressive.  The Camano Island radar shows totals getting to 3 inches or more in the Puget Sound convergence zone band east of Everett.


And the Langley Hill radar near Hoquiam picked up similar amounts on the southwest and southern sides of the Olympics.


This much rain resulted in substantial improvement of river levels around the State, with most at near-normal  (green) levels (see USGS plot this morning).


And the fronts that brought the rain also brought cool air.  Yesterday, Seattle had a record low maximum temperature for the date (55F) and there was snow above 4500 ft.  Paradise on Mt. Rainier was winterlike this morning at 5 AM (see below).


But now the amazing thing.... a lot more precipitation is coming this weekend (sorry).   

Take a look at the latest European Center accumulated total precipitation through next Tuesday morning.  Mama Mia!  2-4 inches over southeastern BC and into the Olympics.   The western slopes of the Cascades get over an inch.


And we are going into this summer with a very good snowpack, as shown by the latest Snowtel analysis.  240% of normal in the Olympics.
The critical Yakima River reservoirs are full....and at very high levels: far high than average or last year.  Agriculture will have the water they require

And the latest USDA Forest Service analysis shows low fire danger at this time across Washington State.


There may be certain media outlets that are talking about drought and gloom/doom, but we are really in quite decent shape regarding water resources for this summer.  The only exception is the situation in southeast Washington where dry spring conditions are a problem for dryland farmers.


17 comments:

  1. Unless you have unirrigated pasture or dryland crops. My place averages almost 10 inches precip in April/May combined. Under 2 inches this year.

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  2. A good soaking rain was great!! Can't wait for hopefully another round!

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  3. Is the definition of drought changing? Even before last week we were very close to average rainfall for Seattle for the year. It seems that even much shorter dry periods are now being referred to as drought. Perhaps we need to bring back some consistency to the definition of drought to make such discussions more historically consistent.

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    1. Prior to the weekend rains, the US drought monitor listed conditions in western Washington as "abnormally dry."

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    2. The U.S. Drought Monitor is an unscientific joke.

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    3. Consistency and clarity would make data manipulations not possible. It is a bit naive to expect it from a corrupt system. Woundermap , for example, does not report the correct amount of precipitation for my area.For some reason data are always adjusted to show less precipitation. At least Cliff Mass is more honest about his weather reports. Good to have him around.

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  4. There seems to be a significant moisture disparity right now between the western and eastern thirds of the state not reflected in this post. Western WA looks good and I saw recently firsthand the healthy snow pack in the Cascades. Here in Spokane, we’ve had no significant rainfall for months and what snowpack we had is more or less toast. It’s bizarre that all of this Western WA rainfall is not getting to Spokane. Send us some rain! -Spokane

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  5. Seattle itself has not been declared in drought - the drought monitor labeled it "abnormally dry" last week and this should fix that. Western Oregon was a level more severe, but still not terrible. The true problems are east of the Cascades and, especially, south. Things there are dire. Tri cities have less than 1.4" of rain this year - exceptionally dry even for them.

    https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?West

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  6. Don't believe we received even 0.2" in Bothell for the weekend.

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    1. Interesting. Well, I got 1.3 inches, and I live on the Bothell-Mill Creek line.

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    2. I live on the Kirkland line. Interesting.

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  7. Cliff, what's the story with rapid refresh these days? It's been listed as "maintenance underway" for a couple months, HRRRnew doesn't show as many model results, and as of late May most of the local domains (including Seattle Portland) stopped updating. Is everything moving to the subhourly models?

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  8. Any of that next system reaching California or are they just screwed till next October?

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  9. Thanks for the reality check, Cliff. It will no doubt be a major disappointment for the crisis mongers.

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  10. Where it comes to "7-day" precipitation statistical comparisons to "long term" averages - it's important for folks to take a very close look at what historic records are being used for those averages. USDA-NRCS just published a map today that compares the last 7-day precipitation figures to the period 1981-2010 (!). that's an interesting twenty years, and not what I personally consider particularly reflective of anything even moderately "recent," trend-wise. Cherry picking? I can't even begin to guess.

    Also, know that "drought" per state law refers to 25% less than "average" [something] aka "supply." If having 75" of rain in a spot instead of 100" qualifies as "drought," well technically that fits the bill although it's far from dry. Just carping.

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    1. My favorite was the spring of 2019, when Inslee declared a "drought emergency" to coincide with his laughable presidential campaign. Cliff Mass nailed him but good. A bunch of rain ended that yammering -- not that Inslee or his Seattle "progressive" followers would ever admit that it was a political lie.

      See, the Democrats are perfect. The problem wasn't that Inslee lied, but that the Evil Republicans made it rain. LOL

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