April’s sudden snowfall saves state from previous drearier rainfall predictions

May 6, 2022, 3:54 PM
A jogger makes their way down the middle of a snowy street on February 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washing...
A jogger makes their way down the middle of a snowy street on February 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. A large winter storm dropped heavy snow across the region. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

April logged the most snowfall in recent history for Washington, bringing back most of the winter’s missing snow in the process.

“So much for the doom and gloom as reported last month. Measured in feet, not inches, snowpack piled up in record fashion, nudging out April 2011 for the king of comebacks,” read the National Resources Conservation Service’s monthly Water Supply Outlook Report. “Going back to 2009, there have only been two significant years where April saved the day. Typical April snowfall is light and often followed by warm weather that simply evaporates into the atmosphere, not adding to the overall snowpack and subsequent runoff.”

70 degrees, thunderstorms, and a chance of snow: wild run of weather on tap to close out week

The May 1 statewide SNOTEL readings increased to 114% of average snowfall, according to the report. SNOTEL stands for SNOpack TELemetry, the name for a remote weather station that measures snow and transmits the data wirelessly. SNOTEL collects all forms of precipitation including, rain, snow, sleet, and hail.

Just one month ago, the April 1 SNOTEL readings were only 80% of normal levels. The lowest readings in the state were at Status Creek Basin, charting just 5% snowfall compared to the 30-year median for April 1.

Westside medians from SNOTEL included the North Puget Sound River basin with 108% of normal averages, the Central and South Puget River basins with 132% and 111% respectively, and the Lower Columbia basins with 114% of normal. Snowpack along the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains included the Yakima area with 101% and the Wenatchee area with 118%. Snowpack in the Spokane River Basin was at 114% and the Upper Columbia River basins had 107% of the long-term median.

The precipitation accumulation for May was around normal levels throughout the state. The statewide water-year average was at 109% as of May 1. Monthly precipitation ranged from a high of 376% of normal in the Colockum Drainage to a low of 74% in the northeast corner of the state. Some individual site reporting’s for the month include Pope Ridge at 207% of normal, Dungeness at 292%, Lost Horse at 230%, and Hozomeen Camp at 156%.

Seattle ‘not likely’ to see repeat of 2021’s record-shattering February snow

During April, Seattle weathered the two coldest back-to-back days in recorded history for the month of April, the National Weather Service (NWS) announced Thursday.

NWS says in their 77 years of weather recordkeeping, April never fell below a high of 45 degrees before that two-day stretch. Those days both recorded a high of 44.

Sea-Tac Airport recorded a low of 32 degrees Wednesday, which tied the coldest April day on record, set on April 4, 1975. Olympia recorded a low of 28 degrees, which broke the previous coldest April day record of 30 degrees set on April 19, 2008.

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April’s sudden snowfall saves state from previous drearier rainfall predictions