WA Snowpack Forecast

Photo courtesy of NOAA

It's that time of year again, hunting season is here (or has already passed if you're a bowhunter!). Leaves are starting to turn colors. As we go into winter many of us start to think of the snowpack. Snow is essential for our fish and wildlife. It provides ample streamflow for our fish to thrive in the hot summer. It provides water for trees in the forest to grow and grasses to grow for forage for wildlife. Last winter was a pretty good year when it came to snow pack. This was in part due to last winter being a La Niña year. La Niña and El Niño years are based on the temperature of the Pacific Ocean along the equator. When that temperature is cooler than average, it means the Pacific Northwest will typically be wetter and cooler than normal. Normally this means a good snow year for Washington State. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecasted a 80% chance of La Niña conditions for November through January. Since the ocean temperatures can change, a winter can go from being in La Niña conditions to being neutral or average conditions. But given the high confidence in the winter starting out as a La Niña, this is great news for the snowpack. We should have ample precipitation and cool temperatures for our snow pack to build, to have ample soil moisture for our forest and grasslands, and plenty of streamflow for our fish species.

NOAA Snowpack Forecast: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/september-2022-la-ni%C3%B1a-update-it%E2%80%99s-q-time

About Ryan Niemeyer PhD

Watershed Program Manager at @UCSRB. 7th gen Washingtonian. Raised on a farm in eastern WA. Husband, father, bow hunter, hiker, American. Views are my own.

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