Below normal temperatures, Above normal precipitation

S-E Editor

The winter of 2016-2017 has been one to remember—some of the coldest temperatures, for extended periods of time in years. And what seems to be verdant snowfall in the mountains and valleys.

But according to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the mountain snow accumulation is not keeping up with normal accumulation amounts, despite piling up from the valley floor to the mountaintop.

After a hot, dry summer, Washington ended last water year and began this water year with much above normal rainfall. It took awhile, but temperatures finally cooled off and snow started to accumulate in early December.

“Heavy valley snow like we have leads to a misperception of mountain snowpack,” said NRCS Water Supply Specialist, Scott Pattee. “We are getting snow, but it’s about the same everywhere and many just wish it would go back to the mountains where it belongs.”

The most recent short-term forecast is for below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. The National Weather Service three-month outlook is for equal chances of temperature and above normal precipitation, which could mean a continuation of mountain snow accumulation, which is much needed in several basins around the state, according to Pattee.

Increased chances for below normal temperatures during January, February and March are forecast from parts of the Pacific Northwest east to the Northern Great Plains and upper Mississippi valley. Those colder than the norm weather patterns were holding true around the Pacific Northwest for the first half of January.

Oceanic and atmospheric observations from the National Weather Service indicate that La Nina conditions are currently present.

Read the full story in the Jan. 18 edition of the Statesman-Examiner. An e-edition will be available Jan. 18 through our website: