Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Weather Washington Cascades and Sierra- Extended Outlook

Issued 3-1-2016

Much of February the Washington Cascades and the Sierra (California) had below normal mountain snow. However since much of December and January had above normal snowfall our mountains are in good shape. As of March 1 the Washington Cascades (Stevens and Snoq Passes)  snowpack is close to 90% normal. For the Sierra from Lake Tahoe north is also close to 90%.

What does this coming March look like?  Well  through the middle of the month models are showing troughs of low pressure that move in and out of the region.  The 500 mb map below exhibits what we can expect for much of the time. Forecast models for the Washington Cascades through  March 15  are showing normal temperatures with above normal precipitation. This should add to the snowpack and this is this first time in a while that the models have not had Washington at above normal temperatures. The Sierra is forecasted to have below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation through March 15 so that region will also add to their snowpack.

500 mb map on Monday March 7

The maps below indicate precipitation we get through the middle of March. The first map is the cumulative precipitation for the period 3-1 through 3-9 and the second one is cumulative precipitation  for the period 3-9 through 3-17. The dark red colors are precipitation above 6 inches. The third and final map is precipitation as a percent of normal for the period 3-1 through 3-9. The blue colors indicate much of the Washington Cascades and Sierra will be from 150 to 300% of normal. This is all good news for skiers and building a good summer water supply.

Maps from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.Top map is precipitation for 3-1 through 3-9, the middle map for 3-9 through 3-17, and the bottom map is precipitation as a percent of normal for 3-1 to 3-9.

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