Peninsula is running out of time for snow

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

It’s getting more and more likely that much of the North Olympic Peninsula will make it through the winter without a significant snowfall.

The chances of a late-season snowstorm in the region’s population centers are diminishing with each passing day, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

“When we had our cold stretch, it was pretty dry,” Burg said, adding that chances for snow in Western Washington decrease rapidly in March.

Port Angeles native Scott Sistek, a meteorologist with KOMO News, a Peninsula Daily News partner, addressed the undramatic winter weather on his blog at www.komonews.com/weather.

“Even taking snow out the equation, the other two big winter events, heavy rains and strong winds, have mainly been MIA as well,” Sistek wrote Wednesday.

“What we’ve been left with are a lot of mundane cloudy days with some light rain at times.”

Sistek hinted that the potential for snow remains, citing a two-week forecast that calls for chilly weather up and down the West Coast.

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is calling for cooler-than-average temperatures with normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest over the next three months.

Though the lowlands near the Pacific Ocean and Strait of Juan de Fuca remain snow-free, the Hood Canal area was hammered with wet snow in December.

Snapped limbs and fallen trees forced the state Department of Transportation to close a 25-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 101 between Hoodsport and Brinnon on Dec. 20.

The Olympic Mountains continue to be socked in with a robust snowpack — good news for irrigators and whitewater recreationalists.

The water content in the Olympic Mountains was 119 percent of normal at last reading, Burg said.

Olympic National Park reported a depth of 97 inches of snow at Hurricane Ridge on Friday with a moderate avalanche danger.



Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 17. 2013 5:47PM
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