In a El Nino year, the Northwest and northern Rockies tend to get less snow than normal while the Sierra and other Southwest mountain areas get more. This season, so far, fits right along with the norm. Here is a map of the West showing the snow depth compared to normal through this morning. This map is from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.
In general, the blues are above normal snow depth, while the yellows to oranges are below normal snow depth. The deeper the color, the more above or below normal it is.
For water purposes, this map is all great news. After four consecutive years of below-normal rain and snow in California, this year it’s been a boon and a much welcomed one by most. Of course skiers are thrilled as well in these areas, with some of the best skiing in half a decade right now. Arizona has above-normal snow depth, though rainfall in the deserts has stayed below normal. But with at least snow on the ground running above normal so far, come the spring melt, this will help with the water supplies at least some. And we are not done with winter storms yet either.
Skiers in the Northwest and northern Rockies, meanwhile, have endured a season so far that has been disappointing at best. Snow in many places is well below normal, and this has had a big impact on skiing.
With the storm track headed south again for the weekend into next week, the haves will have more, and the have nots will continue to be disappointed. At least two moderate size storms will move through between Friday and Monday in the Southwest, bringing snow and rain.
I will have details on this tomorrow.
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