Week in weather: Solar eclipse passes; water supply a concern with low snowpack

Apr 8, 2024, 7:06 AM | Updated: 3:06 pm

eclipse snowpack...

A matrix road sign displays a message for drivers about the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 in Lackawanna, New York. (Photo: Adam Gray, Getty Images)

(Photo: Adam Gray, Getty Images)

This week leads off with a rare partial solar eclipse in the state of Washington, warms up mid-week with some sunshine and ends with the Seattle Mariners back home with the roof likely closed thanks to a renewed threat of rain.

The partial solar eclipse was Monday with about 20% of the sun blocked by the passing moon in front of it here in Western Washington. The path of totality where the moon is completely blocking the sun extends on a path from central Texas northeast into New England.

Here, the event began at approximately 10:40 a.m., reached its peak near 11:30 a.m. and finished around 12:20 p.m.

More on the eclipse: UW scientists will head east to study the solar eclipse

Did the weather cooperate to see this partial solar eclipse? On Monday during the eclipse time period, there were supposed to be breaks in the cloud cover permitting some viewing of this unique event.

Proper eyewear is critical whenever looking at the sun. Special eclipse glasses that meet the international standard are needed. Looking directly at the sun causes permanent eye damage without these special glasses.

Many TV networks covered the solar eclipse as it crossed the U.S. NASA also streamed live video of the event on their website. Unfortunately, cloud cover from Texas into the Ohio Valley will likely obscure viewing the eclipse. Those in the Northeast will have the best opportunity to view this unique event.

The next solar eclipse for North America does not occur again until 2044. Yet, next year, Western Washington will experience a slightly different phenomenon — a lunar eclipse — on March 13 when the Earth moves into the path of the sun toward the moon – something to look forward to.

Clouds, low chance of rain through rest of week

For the rest of the week, a weak weather system will track through Western Washington Monday night and Tuesday, bringing clouds and a little rain. High temperatures will only rise into the 50s.

On Wednesday and Thursday, higher pressure aloft is expected to build over the region for a break in the wet April weather and offer a couple of days with some warmer sunshine. Highs are anticipated to climb above 60 degrees in many locations.

By Friday, the next Pacific weather system is forecast to approach Western Washington for a rising threat of rainfall. The Seattle Mariners’ three-game weekend series against the Chicago Cubs starting Friday night will likely have the T-Mobile Park roof closed with game-time temperatures only in the lower 50s.

Current status of state’s snowpack

April 1 is usually when the mountain snowpack reaches its peak for the season. March offered opportunities to help build what was a rather meager snowpack, making up some ground from earlier in the season. Yet, according to statistics from the Northwest Avalanche Center, snow depths remained below average.

As of April 1, the Olympics are just over 50% of its average with a water equivalent in the snowpack of close to 60%. The North Cascades are a little better with a snow depth around 60% of normal and a similar percentage for the water equivalent.

More on the eclipse: Cliff Mass asks one question: Will it be worth watching?

The Central Cascades are better yet, near 65% of its average for both snow depth and the water within the snowpack. The Southern Cascades are in the best shape, with snow depths ranging from 75-95% of average and the snow water equivalent around 80%.

With the latest seasonal weather outlook for the rest of this spring and summer having good odds of it being warmer and drier than average, what snow lies in the mountains is going to be about it for the season. Water and wildfire managers, power utilities, agriculture interests, fish management and many others are closely monitoring the weather situation moving into this summer. Water supplies may be a growing concern in the coming months.

Ted Buehner is the KIRO Newsradio meteorologist. You can read more of Ted’s stories here and follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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Week in weather: Solar eclipse passes; water supply a concern with low snowpack