Despite a roller-coaster of weather systems that saw a wet November and dry December, the Washington snowpack is in good shape for early January. Scott Pattee with NRCS said several rounds of precipitation over the New Year’s holiday was a welcomed sign after a very quiet second half of December.
“The quality of snow is good too. We started piling up snow early in mid-November, which is when we should start getting snow, and it stuck around and so the density is pretty high which is a good thing, because it keeps the snow around longer. It takes a lot more to melt that snowpack.”
As far as the individual basins around the state are concerned:
- Upper Columbia is 115% of average
- North Puget Sound is 104% of average
- Central Puget Sound is 107% of average
- South Puget Sound is 108% of average
- Lower Columbia is 108% of average
- Klickitat is 106% of average
- Naches is 103% of average
- Central Columbia is 97% of average
- Upper Yakima is 99% of average
- Lower Yakima is 93% of average
- The Lower Snake-Walla Walla is 92% of average
- Lower Pend Oreille is 95% of average
- Spokane is 93% of average
Pattee added as long as the Northwest continues to see storm systems on a regular basis, the snowpack should be in good shape.
“It’s this time of year, you know, if the spigot gets turned off again, then those numbers start dropping really rapidly. And depending on how far into the winter you get, the deeper hole you dig if that happens. But we’re kind of crossing our fingers and hoping that the current systems will do the job.”
Pattee said with so much snow in the higher elevations, the avalanche danger is currently extreme.