Weather Blog

Stevens Pass: 13+ feet of snow in February-- 2nd snowiest in 50 years

Stevens Pass: 13+ feet of snow in February-- 2nd snowiest in 50 years
Photo courtesy: Stevens Pass Ski Resort

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. -- To say Stevens Pass ski resort got a little bit of snow this month is to say a few people showed up Downtown for the Seahawks Super Bowl Parade.

The ski resort said Thursday that so far this month, they have received 160 inches of snow -- over 13 feet! -- making it the second snowiest February in the last 50 years up there. It's been only upstaged by the epic winter of 1998-99 that had 226 inches at Stevens Pass in February and overall set the world record for seasonal snow at Mt. Baker.

Newest summer outlook for Seattle: Hot and dry

Newest summer outlook for Seattle: Hot and dry
Seattle's Space Needle with mountains in the distant background on May 5, 2013. (Photo: Scott Wood Photography)

We've been celebrating this week the return of our normal snowpack, but new forecast data out by long range climate computer models suggests the rally in snowpack may be even more important than you might think.

Fresh data released a few days ago is now suggesting there are significantly higher chances of a warmer and drier than normal spring and summer across the West, including the Pacific Northwest.

Potpourri blog: February shows how Seattle gets its rainy reputation

Potpourri blog: February shows how Seattle gets its rainy reputation

The sun finally broke out on Tuesday -- the first reasonably sunny day that wasn't about to feature a drenching rain storm that evening in over two weeks. After four consecutive months of below-normal temperatures and snowpack, February has made up for lost time.

Here are some interesting statistics from February as we start to head into March's lion:

Can California's snowpack rally like Washington's?

Can California's snowpack rally like Washington's?
A warning sign about ramps not suitable for all boats due to the low water level of Black Butte Lake Friday Jan. 17, 2014 in Orland, Calif. (AP Photo/Chico Enterprise-Record, Jason Halley)

As mentioned here earlier this week, the Washington Cascades made a tremendous rally in the past two weeks for our seasonal snowpack, stuck at 50-60 percent of normal as late as Feb. 7, only to now sit at 97-104 percent of normal!

California's snowpack was in much more dire straits than Washington at the same time -- around 10-20 percent of normal in early February.

The Golden State did get a few of the 10 or so mountain-snow storms that dumped 6-8 feet of snow in the Cascades this month, but only a handful gave them a direct hit. As of Feb. 24, the Sierras stand at 33-48 percent of normal.

2 weeks of snow makes up entire snowpack deficit

2 weeks of snow makes up entire snowpack deficit
A very snowy scene at Paradise Ranger Station (Photo courtesy: National Parks Web camera)

What a rally.

Sitting at the first week of February, our mountain snowpack was running just 50-60 percent of normal. With just essentially 8 or so weeks left in the mountain snow season, it was akin to being down 4 runs in the 9th inning as far as hopes of getting our snowpack up to normal to provide us with our summer water.

But to borrow from the great late Dave Niehaus: Break out the rye bread and mustard, grandma, because we've essentially hit a grand salami.

7 ft of snow in the Cascades this week? Snowpack could nearly double

7 ft of snow in the Cascades this week? Snowpack could nearly double
Photo courtesy: Stevens Pass Ski Resort
Remember all those issues we had earlier this fall and winter with paltry snowpacks, ski resorts struggling to open and concerns about summer water?

Fuzzy rainbow greets Puget Sound Friday morning...

Chocolate and flowers might be traditional Valentine's Day gifts, but Mother Nature gave a little treat to those up early enough to look out to their north over Puget Sound. And if you weren't up to see it, luckily it was caught on camera.

Greg Johnson of Skunkbayweather.com noticed this rather diffuse rainbow out his window Friday morning -- making it appear more like it was raining colors than a traditional rainbow:

Mother Nature shows us some love

Mother Nature shows us some love
Photo of heart-shaped sunbreak, captured on July 23, 2012 in North Tacoma. (Photo, Twitter user: @Teirconnell)

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in Sept. 2012, but I figure it being Valentine's Day, it makes sense to dig it out of the archives...

What's next? Raining candy hearts that say: "Be Mine"?

Twitter user @teirconnel snapped this photo of a heart-shaped sunbreak over North Tacoma in late July. (Cue the, "awwww".)

While that was neat, what made it interesting was that another heart recently popped up in a photo around here. This one is a heart-shape cloud as seen from Mukilteo, taken by Dewana Lennon:

The makings of a 'catastrophic, crippling' storm for Atlanta

The makings of a 'catastrophic, crippling' storm for Atlanta
A Georgia DOT sign warns drivers of winter weather as they travel a bleak section of Hwy. 141 on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Norcross, Ga. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The National Weather Service doesn't usually resort to dire language when giving forecasts for storms -- the two most famous examples I can think of are Hurricane Katrina and SuperStorm Sandy.

But NWS forecasters in the southeast are making no bones about the severity of an ice storm that is pushing into Georgia and parts of South Carolina.

These snippets are from the 3:39 a.m. forecast discussion on Feb. 12 from the National Weather Service office near Atlanta:

Seattle weather at its finest: 10 storms in 16 days

Seattle weather at its finest: 10 storms in 16 days
A rainy window pane on a stormy day in Seattle. (Photo courtesy: Michael Mclaughlin Photography

Seattle is going to try to accomplish a daunting feat: Make up for a fairly dry autumn and winter by pouring nearly non stop for two weeks in February.

Watching the forecast models for the next two weeks suggests the rain that returned earlier this week is going to stick around in the forecast for quite some time.

130,000 boatloads of snow (give or take) coming to the Cascades this week

130,000 boatloads of snow (give or take) coming to the Cascades this week
Skiers enjoying a snowy Monday up at Stevens Pass will be happy to hear there is plenty more where this came from. (Photo courtesy: Stevens Pass web camera)

Skiers always get excited when we weather forecasters talk about "boatloads of snow coming to the Cascades" but the forecast for this upcoming week is so promising, simple "boatloads" is an understatement.

How about "tens of thousands of boatloads"?

Just for fun, I wanted to see a rough guesstimate (emphasis on "rough"...and "guess" for that matter) of just how many boatloads of snow it would take to match the expected snow totals through the weekend.

Photographer gets amazing pics of frozen bubbles and frost crystals

Photographer gets amazing pics of frozen bubbles and frost crystals
Photo courtesy: Angela Kelly, Kelly Images and Photography

Arlington photographer Angela Kelly, who made waves around the Internet with her gallery of frozen bubbles featured in this blog during our last cold snap in December, was out again in the frigid mornings this week trying to add to her frozen bubble collection.

But this time, she got an added bonus for her teeth-chattering troubles: A gorgeous display of ice crystals.