The first half of the season has been drier than average along the coast. At the end of January, the snowpack around Lake Tahoe and Oregon was only 25% of average, and Washington was better, but not great, with numbers around 50-60%.
That was the bad news. The good news is that the weather pattern has changed, and snow is piling up along the coast.
During the second week of February, most areas saw at least 20” of snow, while the higher elevations around Lake Tahoe reported more than four FEET. This brought the snowpack numbers up to 50% of average for Tahoe and 60-70% for Oregon and Washington.
If you’re looking for even better news, here it is: heavy snow will continue to target Oregon, Washington and British Columbia for at least the next week. Totals could easily exceed four FEET for most areas. Conditions will be absolutely sensational.
Additional good news will come later next week, around Wednesday, February 19, as a colder storm drops through the region and brings powder as far south as Lake Tahoe and Mammoth in California. This is great for skiers and riders, and even better for all of California, which depends on winter snow to provide water during the rest of the year.
All in all, this is a great forecast. Stop what you’re doing, and get to the snow!
Joel Gratz is a meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.