Warmer Weather Coming To NCW; Snowpack Could Diminish With Rain
The weather is entering a calm and warmer than normal period after Monday morning’s Winter Weather Watch.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Laurie Nisbet says a pattern of light rain and temperatures near 40 will hold through the end of the week.
"It's a very boring weather week for Central Washington," said Nisbet. "After the cold, maybe people will appreciate the warmer conditions."
The warmer than normal weather will continue through February and beyond, according to the weather service.
Nisbet says the pattern will not be good for snowpack in the Cascades.
"We do get a decent stretch of warmer air into the area, which will raise snow levels," Nisbet said. "So, it'll probably be raining at the passes through the weekend, which will probably continue to, perhaps, lower snowpack in the mountains."
The snowpack at Snoqualmie and Stevens passes is 74 to 86 percent of normal for this time of year, which could diminish by the end of the week.
The recent cold snap and storms had increased snowpack from only about 50 percent of normal previously.
The major concern is low levels of snowpack will lead to reduced runoff in the spring, which would leave wildfire fuels more stressed and susceptible to igniting.
Snowpack levels also affect the water supply, as the water supply is somewhat dependent on the Cascade snowpack.
The warmer weather is a return to the El Niño winter the Northwest has been experiencing.
The region never left El Niño conditions, and the recent arctic mass was just a temporary variation from the El Niño pattern.
The weather service says the El Niño pattern will end going into this summer with conditions returning to a more normal state.
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Gallery Credit: Patti Banner