Monday, October 4, 2010
Hey everbody. I’m not sure how many of you have heard, but this winter has the possibility of being an extremely snowy one, both for the lowlands and the mountains, but especially for the mountains. Why? Because we have an EXTRAORDINARILY intense La Nina event brewing near the equator. Temperatures right now are the lowest since 1955 and they are expected to continue to drop.
This diagram shows the SSTs and the SST anomalies. There is usually cooler water in the Eastern equatorial Pacific than the Western, but as you can see in the second diagram, the already cool water is much cooler than normal and it is cooler than normal for pretty much the whole region. What does this mean for us? Well, let me put it this way. Before 2006 (which was a freak year for weather, mainly due to the 1.63 inches of rain Sea-Tac got in November), 1955 was the wettest autumn ever for Seattle (September to November). Seattle also got down to 6 degrees in November of that year and remained cold throughout the rest of the winter. What does that mean? Snow. And LOTS of it. I can’t find any data for Seattle specifically, but Snoqualmie Pass got a pretty good dose of snow that year. It was their highest snow amount ever recorded, in fact. They got 828 inches before the season was over. That is almost 70 feet!Last year, we got about 20 feet.
In case I haven’t convinced you yet of how crazy this winter could be, the winter of 1950 was also a very strong La Nina. Seattle got tons of snow, including 21.4 inches in one day in January! The average temperature for January was below freezing. And perhaps the most amazing thing – Gig Harbor actually froze over. We had some very cold days and got down to 0 degrees, and that was cold enough to make a saltwater area with moving water freeze. Take a look at the video! It says 1949 but is 1950, I assure you.