Saturday, December 26, 2015The U.S. snow depth analysis shows a dramatic picture this morning: huge amounts of snow over the Northwest U.S., but virtually nothing over the Northeast U.S. (see below). Washington State has greater depths than any other state (mainly in the Cascades), with amounts exceeded only by British Columbia, the Saudi Arabia of water resources. British Columbia snow is a big positive for us, of course, since the Columbia drains southward and many of us head to Whistler or other south BC ski areas.
Serious folks in the snow business like to look at snow water equivalent (SWE) instead of snow depth. SWE tells us the liquid water equivalent (the depth of water if the snowpack was melted) of the frozen water in the snowpack and is a better measure of the water availability when the snowpack melts during the spring. The SWE for this AM (see below) shows massive amounts in our area, with substantial SWE in the northern and central Rockies. Bad news over the eastern U.S., where preternatural warmth--reaching the lower 70s was enjoyed during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The temperatures back east were simply startling and opposite of the severe cold they experienced the last two winters. Take a look at the max temperatures on Christmas Eve Day. 72F in New York City and Albany. 69F in Boston.