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Dry weather stalls promise of November snow in Western Washington

Seattle may have to wait for its winter snow. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

After frigid weather and rain throughout October, many thought that was a precursor to a snowy end to the year for Western Washington. But with November’s unseasonably dry weather continuing, it’s thrown those forecasts into doubt.

Seattle winter could be much snowier than usual

“After the extraordinary early snow during the first half of October, many skiers and snowboarders were greasing their skies[sic] and prepping their gear for an early start of the snow recreation season,” University of Washington Atmospheric Science Professor Cliff Mass said in a recent blog post. “But alas, things did not work out that way.”

Oct. 25 kicked off a near-record 14-day dry streak in the region. During that period, most of the snow in Western Washington’s mountain passes melted, “leaving us worse than a year ago” Mass noted.

He cites snow depth measurements between 2018 and 2019, that show more snow at high elevations at this time last year.

Meanwhile, the Seattle area will have had just 0.55 inches of rainfall in November as of Wednesday, two inches less than what’s considered typical.

Mass blames “persistent high pressure over the northeast Pacific” as the culprit, leading to dry, warm weather all along the West Coast, and cooler, wetter weather in the eastern U.S.

Despite all this, he also notes that this trend could still have the region buried under snow before we’re out of the winter months.

‘Dice may be loaded’ for November snow in Seattle

“Strangely enough the persistence of this ridge could be a good thing for snow later in the season — if the ridge moves back towards the west, we might be open to a trough coming from the north, like last February,” he described.

“We will see,” he added.

A separate report from Seattle Weather Blog’s Justin Shaw suggests that this winter will be a few inches snowier than usual, with 10 to 12 inches expected on average.

“The weather pattern responsible for bringing the city days on end of dry, sunny weather is the same pattern that could whiten Seattle with snow — if it were the shift west 500 or miles or so,” said Shaw.

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