There’s no way to hide from the fact that snowfall is well below normal in this region of the country. Automated snow measuring stations show that the current snowpack is 20-40 percent of average from Washington State south to the Lake Tahoe area. And this isn’t just bad news for skiers. Water managers are also worried since winter snowfall creates water for drinking and agricultural use through the rest of the year.
Unfortunately, I don’t have good news to share in the longer term as the dry and sunny weather will continue through at least mid January. However, in the short term, two storms will sneak into the area and will bring measurable snow. This is great news!
The first storm moved through Washington and Oregon on Wednesday and Wednesday night with about 6-12" of snow. There will be a break on Thursday and Friday with lighter snow showers amounting to a just few inches. Then the next storm will hit the coast on Saturday and Saturday night with about 3-6" for Tahoe, perhaps 5-10" for Oregon, and as much as 12-18" for Washington State.
In total, these storms could deliver 2-5" of liquid equivalent to Oregon and Washington. This will put a small dent in the dismay of water managers, but much more snow is needed to bring the region closer to normal. There are indications that the pattern may shift to a wetter one later this month and through the rest of the winter. Let’s hope this is the case!
Joel Gratz is a Meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.