How does this this winter (so far) stack up to historical data?

Well lets take a look.  The NWS and NOAA have a really good Climate site called the National Climate Data Center.   This includes portals into various types of historical data.  Lets first look at this January.   Here are two tables that show rank by geography of both temperature and precipitation. january precip rank map january14 temp rankings


The graph compares other monthly averages and assigns a rank to them.   We can see that January was the 19th driest on record.  The next image is an average location and flow of 500 millibar pressure gradients, which is roughly where the jet stream exists for the month. january millibar average

This is the time of the now infamous Polar Vortex that caused huge impacts on the East Coast. The Jet stream dipped south and brought cold polar air and feet of snow into the southern US for several weeks. In turn we were stuck with a ridge of high pressure up and down the west coast that brought mild temperatures and drought conditions.



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Lots of moisture on the way.

The last several days have seen an interesting weather pattern develop up and down the west coast. California has seen a massive change in their drought pattern and heavy rains and strong winds causing flooding and landslides.  Here is the Quantitive precipitation charts for yesterday.


Now this storm has moved north, colliding with cold air that has settled in the area the last 2 days.   Chances of lowland snow, were dashed because this storm is coming in warmer than previous forecasts called for.   Snow is falling over night with possible totals for today and overnight ranging from just a few inches in the southern cascades to up to 17 inches at mount baker.   Temps will raise though, bringing rain and heavier snow into tomorrow day.   Avalanche Danger is considerable but the likely hood of heavy wet snow with warming will escalate throughout the week,  especially with more warm precipitation.   Wednesday looks really interesting with a large blob that is working its way across the pacific.





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A look back at an amazing week.

We are just coming out of what has been the most productive and snowy weather patterns in recent memory.  Stevens Pass claims to have “the third best February in 50 years”, and the snowpack has grown by 7 to 8 feet bringing us up to average snowpack in just about a weeks  time.  Here is snowfall telemetry for last weeks dump.  Notice the snowpack graph second to the bottom.


Here is the quantitative precipitation for sunday the 16th of Feb.  Snow totals for that day ended up being between 16 to 22 inches of snow.

qpctpt 2:16

Here is the satellite image from that same day. You can see a broad storm system that stretches across the region with another low spinning off the coast.





You can see where the low is sitting over the Cascade crest, with another off the coast.

In all that series of storms will go down as the best week of the winter so far and a bench mark for patterns that we can look for in the the future.



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Washingtons Birthday Storm

The last 24 hours have brought loads of snow to the mountains, but the next 48 will be the most impressive yet.  A mid sized low will bring heavy snow to the mountains, and heavy winds.  Sunday night could see up to 17 to 20 inches of snow across the cascades and winds up to 45 mph.   This will create stormy conditions and hazardous avalanche levels.   Most reports call for severe to extreme avalanche danger due to a combo of numerous unstable layers, heavy snowfall and severe wind loading. rb2:15

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Thursday outlook for the Valentines Day Weekend


Another heavy front made its way across washington overnight, bringing high west winds and 3″-5″ of snow to the mountains last night.  Strong winds have created hazardous conditions through the cascades and Olympics with heavy wind loading on top of earlier weak layers.  The pattern of gradual warming with the frontal passage then cooling in the wake, will persist for the next few days.  Snow levels will be insulated by easterly flow in the passes, somewhat stabilizing the warming trend on local levels.   Several more fronts in this pattern will pass this weekend with several inches of liquid precipitation. That means the potential is there for several more feet of snow between now and Tuesday.




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Active Storm Pattern And a general shift in weather Patterns

As of yesterday I think it would be safe to say Winter has finally arrived in the Northwest.  A vast shift of the arctic high that was blanketing our region for the past several weeks has all but disapeared.  Today is the third day of storms that began delivering for oregon has shifted through southern washington delivering over 10 inches of  snow to white pass.  Today the northern resorts broke thier dry streak with over 10 inches falling since 5 am this morning.  precipitation is comming in a little warm with 33 degrees at stevens. and a further warming trend into tomorrow evening as high as 4000 ft. This could mean periods of mixed rain and snow tomorrow afternoon, however local cooling may occur at passes from cooler air east of the passes.  Tuesday night then has as much as two to three feet as of wednesday morning and another storm for thursday friday!!!




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Cold Cold Cold


Freezing levels have reached sea level bringing frigid feeling temps to Olympia and the rest of the the north west.  Temperatures in the mountains are sub zero with wind chill feeling like -5 to -10 degrees. This arctic airmass is sitting over most of Washington, causing the storm tract to focus south over Oregon and Northern California.  Portland is experiencing a snow day with 6 inches falling downtown and dipping into the Vancouver area causing delays and car accidents.  Mount Hood area got the brunt of the overnight snow with Meadows claiming 8 inches overnight with 18 degree blower pow.   Looks super fun today and tonight with continuing snow thru tomorrow.

wv-l 2:4






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Overnight we saw varying amounts of precipitation through out the Olympics and Cascades.  Stevens and Leavenworth and the central cascades saw the most of it, with 6 inches of fresh snow overnight.  North at Baker we saw just trace amounts. Today we can expect a little warming with steady snow turning to rain for a short period before cooling occurs tonight and tomorrow.    We can see that there is two systems on the horizon, both with significant precipitation one warmer from farther south and one that has a northern trajectory


California and the southern West coast will see some much needed rain and snow.


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Thankfully the rains  and snow have started falling this afternoon, after several weeks of high pressure and warm temperature inversions.   Up to 8 inches of snow could fall overnight and into tomorrow morning with continuing precip for the next 72 hours.  The west coast is finally seeing a little respite to Junuary.

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Warm Air Inversion 1/17/14


Welcome to Juneuary, high pressure has enveloped the region and temperatures are in the 50’s in the mountains.  There has been significant warmup the past week and no new precipitation, which is good because it would mean rain.  Currently it is cold and foggy in the lowlands, but if you go up a little bit in elevation you will find sunny skies and spring like conditions.  There are no storms on the horizon and it looks like we will be seeing sun and east winds.

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