February 2011

Winter strikes back…

February was quite a bipolar month, with the first couple weeks warm and very much resembling last winter’s balmy conditions; and then things changed just after the Valentines day.

Words don’t do justice, so I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves

  1. 26.6 inches of snow in 14 days
  2. Record low of -14 on the 26th (currently the lowest temperature on record for the UI station on the leeside of winter: after Feb 17th)
  3. Last night’s dumping, most spots upwards of 10″, not included in the February totals

To date the accumulated snow stands at 71.7″, about 60% above normal for this point in the season.

Most SNOTEL stations in Northern Idaho/western Montana follow this signature, with the Cascades trying to make up for a number of warm high-snow level systems the robbed them of snowpack in January.

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/snotelanom/basinswe.html

I don’t think we’re done yet, as the persistent trough has a stronghold over the west coast and is likely to not be pushed out in the next couple weeks.  This is very much consistent with a La Nina like regime and it wouldn’t be surprised to see an additional 15″ of snow the next time we look at things on April 1st.

-John

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About John Abatzoglou

John is an associate professor of Geography at the University of Idaho. John's interests are centered around climate and weather of the American West and their impacts to people and natural resources of the West. John and his Applied Climate Science Lab at the University of Idaho have published nearly 100 papers and book chapters on climate science, meteorology, and applied climate science connecting climate to water resources, wildfire and agriculture. The research group also develops web-based climate services that connect climate data with decision makers to help improve climate readiness of societies and ecosystems.

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