February 09, 2024

Precipitation Returns to the Pacific Northwest

There is some nervousness about the water situation in some quarters because of the current El Nino situation.

But although El Ninos tend to produce lower snowpack and warmer temperatures, the total precipitation is much less impacted.  Consistent with this, several wet systems are expected during the next week.

On Sunday, a wet system will move into the region,  providing welcome precipitation over the region, including heavy stuff over southwest BC.

This will be snow over higher elevations (above 4000 ft).

Another moist system will come in on Wednesday associated with a Pacific warm front (see below), with bountiful snow in the mountains.


The forecast over the next ten days, based on the European Center ensemble model, suggests copious precipitation over southwest BC and substantial amounts along the entire coast. 

 This is not a drought situation by any means.  In fact, California will be in an excellent situation regarding water supplies.


The US Army Corps of Engineers and others controlling our local dams/reservoirs will hopefully store as much of this wet bounty as possible.   They can do this because the weather models do not suggest any dangerous flooding situations for which they would need to draw down water levels.

And for those worried about water and climate change, here is an interesting factoid.   

There has been no decline in spring precipitation over the past several decades.  In fact, just the opposite:  the trends have been positive.

For example, here are the spring precipitation totals back to 1947 at SeaTec.   Upward trend (brown line).

Or consider Yakima, amid prime agricultural land in eastern Wa (below).  Also getting more moist.


So perhaps the talk of "languishing"  and  "little hope" should be put on the shelf somewhere.


12 comments:

  1. Sounds like some make up snow. KIRO channel 7 news around midweek featured the US drought map overlaid with diminished snow-pack at about 50 percent of target, due to recent rains melting it away. Can we catch up? https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?WA

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  2. Using words like "languishing" and "little hope" is meant to frighten people, not inform them. And when you frighten someone, you get their undivided attention. There's no more to it than that. COVID hysteria and "climate change" hysteria are 2 other examples of doing this. Why do people agree to keep consuming this stuff?

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  3. "And for those worried about water and climate change, here is an interesting factoid." You actually think those folks are interested in facts? Cognitive dissonance is not something they're interested in, not that they've ever experienced it in the first place. Just wait a few weeks and the new headlines will be "snowpack levels seriously degraded over the past five decades due to AGW."

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  4. The NW RFC is not really seeing the same precipitation/snow in the 10-day window: https://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/water_supply/wy_summary/wy_summary.php?tab=3

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    Replies
    1. I may be wrong, but I believe the model Cliff is relying on here tends to show considerably higher predictive skill than the models NWS relies on, especially when you get out to 5-7+ days.

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  5. February and March are historically some of the snowiest months in the North Cascades. Precipitation in January was 108% of the avg precip for the last six years here (near Mt Baker) so I'm not wringing my hands and pacing. The SNOTEL nearest to this location has always - demonstrably -- seemed to be in something of a rain shadow (it's situated almost squarely between Glacier and the Mt Baker Ski Area, but somehow always reports less precip and snow than the two). Heaven knows the river (Nooksack) flows are pretty typical. Some of us have talked about starting 'a betting pool' to see if the ski area's full-season snowfall stats end at 400, 450, 500 (or more). Point: One never knows.

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  6. It promises to be another hot summer so I'm glad to see the current outlook for more precipitation.

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    1. A nice hot summer would be great for my tomatoes.

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    2. "It promises to be another hot summer" It does? How can you know what the summer will be like?

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  7. Tomatoes need >55°F during the night. Good luck!

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  8. Cliff, you've written before that a few of those pushing the climate change narrative have told you it's the only way to scare people put of putting carbon into the atmosphere. That being the case, facts cannot fit into their world. You're showing solid figures for rainfall which prove we're not seeing any down trend in rainfall amounts. Early in the "the sky is falling" narrative, I often wondered how climate change could cause bad weather EVERYWHERE, as surely some weather would change for the better in some place(s). Nope, you can't even suggest this. I might be one of the few who is willing to accept I don't have a clue either way and I look to those who show empirical data. Therefore, I thank you for posts like this

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  9. Precipitaton is normal, soil moisture normal, reservoirs are in good shape in general. Snowpack is low because it has been warm due to el nino.

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