The snowpack along the west coast is still sitting well below average, though it did get a bit of a boost over the last week as a few storms brought big snow to Oregon and Washington.
On January 7th, the snowpack in the Cascades of Washington State was around 40 percent of average. After the storms, the snowpack on January 15th increased to about 60 percent of average. In Oregon, the snowpack before the storms was about 20 percent of average, and after the storms it increased to about 40 percent of average.
These types of jumps in snowpack can happen in a coastal climate because moisture is plentiful near the ocean, and it takes lots of moisture to create lots of snow. Unfortunately, these storms didn’t bring much snow to the Lake Tahoe, California area, which is still reporting a snowpack of just 25 percent of normal.
There is some good news on the horizon, though. Long range predictions show the ridge of high pressure breaking down toward the end of January and early February. This would open the storm door and allow bigger storms to move through with some consistency.
While the early part of this season will be remembered for its lack of snow, the second part of the season might be very impressive. In past seasons with low snowfall through January, record-breaking amounts of snow fell in February and March. Let’s hope that happens this season as well!
Joel Gratz is a Meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.