November recap thus far...
So, I just added up some figures thus far for November...over 20 inches of water has fallen in the first 20 days of November at Mt Baker, Stevens, Snoqualmie and Mt Hood, with Snoqualmie Pass winning the prize at 25 inches! Unfortunately, much has fallen as rain at most Cascade locales.
The last storm cycle from November 12-18 dropped 12-15 inches of water, with spiking freezing levels midday Tuesday the 17th changing heavy snow to heavy rain in all areas, except the NE Cascade where it looks like the rain/snow line topped out at about the Washingtron Pass elevation 5500 ft or just above.
The net gains in snowdepth this past week were again the northern areas, where the Mt Baker area and NE Cascades gained an impressive 2 feet of snowdepth topping out at 4 ft at Baker and Washington Pass and 5 ft at Harts Pass Tuesday, before warming and/or rain settled things out. Cooler, sunny weather over the past few days has put the snowpack into the freezer.
New NWAC observers Lee Lazzara and Simon Trautman travelled to about 6000 ft in the Great Divide area near Mt Baker Thursday, reporting a thick supportable crust (10cm), evident up to 6000 ft and likely higher. A few inches of new snow remained above the crust in sheltered areas. There was evidence of widespread natural cycle up to 1.5 ft likely releasing during the peak warming midday Tuesday.
What's it looking like in the near future...
In two words...not good ;(
High pressure, sunshine and warming temperatures are expected through the weekend with freezing levels nearing 10,000 ft by Sunday. That should maybe soften surface snow conditions on sunny slopes up high where a deeper snowpack exists. Late fall spring conditions? Maybe if lucky.
The next weather system is slated to drop southeastwards across the region Monday and depart to the southeast Tuesday. There is only limited warming ahead of the system with good cold air behind, so what falls should be mostly snow but only be a moderate producer. The latest models indicate we may get about 3-6 inches of new snow by early Tuesday, maybe a bit more in favored areas. Certainly enough to add some soft snow to the crust in areas with decent coverage. Beyond that, the picture becomes more bleak, at least in the short term. Looking like a dominant ridge of high pressure will be over the region, blocking Pacific Storms through the Thanksgiving weekend.
The forecasters are busy getting some late fall instrumentation field trips in so we will hopefully have a full complement of weather stations as we begin forecasting, sometime in later November. Until then, we will continue to provide updates as we gain new information. We'll have another post out before Thanksgiving at the latest.
Safe travels and enjoy the sunshine, if not the powder!