Early snowpack threatened by temps ‘zooming up’
The current snowpack is above normal for this time of year at several ski resorts, but the celebration may be short-lived as temperatures warm up.
A snow depth analysis by the Northwest Avalanche Center in Seattle found that Hurricane Ridge, Mount Baker, Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, Stampede Pass, Mission Ridge, Crystal Mountain, Paradise, White Pass, Timberline, and Meadows were all above average snowpack. The snowfall allowed for several resorts to open, at least on a limited basis.
But there’s just one problem: warmer weather is expected to remain and freezing levels will rise.
As University of Washington professor of Climatology Cliff Mass puts it, the snow levels will be “zooming up.”
Warming began Sunday. By early Monday morning, 2.5 to 4-plus inches of rain had fallen over the southwest slopes of the Olympic Mountains, according to the National Weather Service.
Rain is expected to continue Tuesday, with the heaviest precipitation Tuesday afternoon and evening. The snow level is expected to be driven up to 9,000 feet by Wednesday.
Then, another system will arrive Wednesday night, bringing more rain.
“The next frontal system will bring another round of rain to Western Washington late Wednesday night and Thanksgiving Day,” according to the National Weather Service.
Lowland temperatures around Seattle will be in the high 50s to low 60s.
The warmer temperatures will increase the threat of flooding Tuesday night through Thursday. The Skokomish River will “almost certainly” flood.
Mass says Thanksgiving week is “traditionally the wettest and stormiest of the year.”