February 26th, 2015

hydrobear

Let It Snow!

This has been a pretty dismal year so far in terms of building up a snowpack. Everyone was full of anticipation as long-range forecasts showed a good chance at above-normal precip. The El Nino index was in positive territory which also suggested a possibility for a good winter. Now all we needed was the snow. In proper El Nino fashion the storm-track seemed to favor the south. The only problem was that it was too far south. Our mountains were missing out on all of the action. People here started to panic. I had to keep reminding everyone that it was STILL winter! In previous years we were blessed with an early snowpack which petered out in Feb and Mar. Perhaps this year would be just the opposite. It's good thinking, however, to have the "money" in the bank early and not be worrying about that big check coming in just before you need it. My hope has been that a "Pineapple Express" would set up like it had earlier in the year for the NoCal/SoOr coast where they got storm after storm after storm. It looks like I may have finally gotten my wish! A train of storms is setting up where there is a good chance for precip every day for the next week. For the past 3 days the Weather Service has been saying the the snow in the mountains will be measured in feet and not inches. Today's report even suggested that people living in the mountains will need to be on guard for the possibility of roof collapse. Yes, the weather-geek in me is squeeing on the inside. I just looked at the SNOTEL data from 2003 which looked to be a similar year. In that year one of our mountain snow stations picked up over 40" of snow in a month and 20" in just a week. This would all be fantastic news (and it is!) but even with all of this we will STILL be below average for the year. Such is the life of a hydrologist during a drought.