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Author Topic: 2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make  (Read 953 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make
« on: 04/02/19, 10:24 AM »

While he was at NWAC, Garth Ferber wrote a script that logs current snow depths at local ski areas and compares them to seasonal averages. The script runs on the 1st and 15th of each month. It generates a simple text page that may or may not be available through any of NWAC's public web pages. Here's a direct link to it:

https://data.nwac.us/CLISNO/CLISNO.TXT

I happened to check the page on March 15, near the end of our long cold spell:


CLIMATOLOGICAL SNOWDEPTH INFORMATION
NORTHWEST AVALANCHE CENTER SEATTLE WASHINGTON
DAY  15  MONTH  3  YEAR  2019

DATA IN INCHES, -99 DENOTES MISSING DATA

            CURRENT  CLIMATE  PER CENT   LAST  THRU 2018  THRU 2018
            DEPTH    AVERAGE  OF NORMAL  YEAR  MAX/YEAR   MIN/YEAR

HURRICANE    75      101       74        110   252/1999     6/2015
MT BAKER    145      163       89        181   305/1999    14/2015
STEVENS      84      102       82        100   200/1956    18/2005
SNOQUALMIE   86       91       95         93   195/1956     0/2015
STAMPEDE     83      100       83        -99   216/1964     0/2005
MISSION      43       46       93         45    83/1999     5/2015
CRYSTAL      69       69      100         74   136/1999     5/2015
PARADISE    153      168       91        165   357/1956    34/2005
WHITE PASS   55       57       96         53   132/1997     0/2015
TIMBERLINE  142      147       97        141   258/1999    34/1981
MEADOWS     124      123      101        102   288/1974    24/2005


Out of curiosity, I just checked the page again, after it was updated on April 1:


CLIMATOLOGICAL SNOWDEPTH INFORMATION
NORTHWEST AVALANCHE CENTER SEATTLE WASHINGTON
DAY  1  MONTH  4  YEAR  2019

DATA IN INCHES, -99 DENOTES MISSING DATA

            CURRENT  CLIMATE  PER CENT   LAST  THRU 2018  THRU 2018
            DEPTH    AVERAGE  OF NORMAL  YEAR  MAX/YEAR   MIN/YEAR

HURRICANE    63      106       59        111   252/1999    12/2015
MT BAKER    117      174       67        186   311/1999    17/2015
STEVENS      63      100       63         97   192/1956    22/2015
SNOQUALMIE   54       85       64         83   170/1956     2/1992
STAMPEDE     64       99       65        -99   183/1956    17/1992
MISSION      38       46       83         44    86/1983     0/2015
CRYSTAL      44       71       62         68   144/1999     6/2015
PARADISE    124      174       71        171   327/1956    66/1941
WHITE PASS   33       55       60         46   110/1997     0/1992
TIMBERLINE  125      162       77        147   300/1999    57/2015
MEADOWS     105      126       83         98   199/2008    33/2015


I've been suspecting that our almost-normal snowpack in early March was an illusion, due to a lot of cold, low density snow that fell in February. Looks like that's the case.
« Last Edit: 04/02/19, 10:38 AM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: 2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make
« Reply #1 on: 04/02/19, 10:28 AM »

Pretty amazing how Snoqualmie Pass when from 95% of normal to 64% of normal in just two weeks.
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kamtron
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Re: 2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make
« Reply #2 on: 04/02/19, 11:11 AM »

This certainly jives with my observations while out ski touring that our snowpack is below normal.
I wonder if the snow water equivalent has been below normal regardless, since most of our winter snow was so much colder than usual.
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its.andy.shaw
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Re: 2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make
« Reply #3 on: 04/02/19, 11:24 AM »

I take a look at this periodically. It’s available on the public homepage under Observations--> Snow Depth Climatology.
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Micah
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Re: 2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make
« Reply #4 on: 04/02/19, 12:50 PM »

Matches my observations, too. It would be interesting to compare to data from the SNOTEL network that is designed for hydrological instead of avalanche forecasting. A spot-check from Amar's site shows that the Lyman Lake SNOTEL site is having a below average year (to say anything conclusive would require a more systematic effort).

This certainly jives with my observations while out ski touring that our snowpack is below normal.
I wonder if the snow water equivalent has been below normal regardless, since most of our winter snow was so much colder than usual.
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peteyboy
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Re: 2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make
« Reply #5 on: 04/02/19, 10:44 PM »

The Glacier Creek Road lost over 4 miles of snowpack in two weeks and the forest went from skiable the whole way to bootpack the whole way.  Mt Baker Ski Area may be dirt for the traditional Ski to Sea race route come Memorial Day.  My fear is that this underestimates the true risk to our summer.  The whole winter we remarked how high the snowline was.  This may be the year we get east side and California style big burns on the west side.
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Scottk
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Re: 2019 snowpack - What a difference two weeks make
« Reply #6 on: 04/10/19, 08:28 PM »

Drought declaration for parts of the state are not a good sign: https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-supply/Water-availability/Statewide-conditions
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