Dry Conditions Pt 1

Dry Conditions Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. Yes, it’s been a dry recently, and there are drought conditions in parts of the Northwest, and wildfire season is fast approaching, so we all need to be conscious of the potential.

But, according to University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences professor Cliff Mass, it’s no reason to panic …

MASS … “The snowpack is in excellent shape right now for much of the region. In fact, in some places really good. I mean, I’m looking at it right now, it’s the SNOTEL. On the Western side, it ranges from 112% to 189% of normal.”

So, how did we arrive at plenty of snowpack yet drought conditions?

MASS … “This was a La Nina year. And so, the snowpack was above normal during the winter, which is pretty La Nina’esque. And, even the pattern that’s drying us out is La Nina’esque because La Nina is often associated with enhanced ridging and high pressure in the Eastern Pacific and a lot of Northwesterly flow which sometimes can be dry, but it often brings a lot of snow to the mountains and that’s basically what happened.”

And, Mass says things are more La Nina-related than signs of global warming …

MASS … “The last month too has been dry, dryer in Oregon than it is in Washington. So, that’s definitely the case. But, if you look at the long-term trend, if you plot the last 100 years, the spring precipitation there, really is no trend. This is a dry year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its global warming. If it was global warming, there’d be this big trend downward and that’s not what we see.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on this upcoming wildfire season.

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