November is usually one of the wettest months in the Pacific Northwest, but not this year. The PNW just had one of its driest Novembers on record and that has taken a toll on early-season snowpack in the Cascades. Nearly every major reporting station in Washington and western Oregon had one of their five driest Novembers, reports the Weather Channel.
This dry spell has severely impacted the early season snowpack. While the majority of the west has enjoyed some decent early season snowfall boosting snowpacks to two, or even three times of average, snowpack in the Washington and Oregon Cascades was only 8 to 39% of the average for early December.
One of the nation’s snowiest locations, Paradise Ranger Station in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park, picked up a paultry 8 inches of snow in November, nothing compared to their November average of over 9 FEET. Just two Washington ski areas have opened, on weekends only – Crystal Mountain and Mission Ridge and in Oregon, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline Lodge are open, but only one lift is open at Timberline, and two at Mt. Bachelor.
Although dry right now, there’s no reason to be concerned just yet. Just 10-days ago, California was suffering from a similar fate, yet a monster storm over Thanksgiving (and another forecast this weekend) took the Tahoe snowpack from 18% of normal to more than 200% of normal.
Elsewhere across the west, snowpack in all areas is looking healthy.
All areas of Colorado are bang on average, or slightly above.
Following a poor start and pretty dry November, the Tahoe region is currently at about double the average snowpack for this time of year. Tahoe ski resorts received between 3-5 FEET last weekend, and are forecast to potentially see the same again this weekend.
Ski areas in Utah benefitted from over 5-feet of snow last weekend to take their snowpacks well above average. Alta Ski Resort has had the most snow in North America!
The snowpack for Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee in Wyoming are currently slightly below average, although as a whole Wyoming is well above average.
Snowpack in Montana varies from just 46% of normal to 171% of normal. Big Sky Resort, in Madison County, is currently suffering from below-average snowpack.