The weather pattern has certainly changed after last month’s mild and quite wet weather. For Paine Field in Everett, it was the 6th wettest November on record, collecting 6.83 inches of rain. The all-time record was 9.17 inches in 2006. In Sedro-Woolley, 13.58 inches of rain was measured for the 2nd wettest November ever, behind 1990’s 16.50 inches. Up in flood stricken Whatcom County, Bellingham had an all-time November record of 14.57 inches of rain, nearly 3 inches over the previous record set in 2006.
But as the calendar rolled over to December, so did the weather pattern. The storm track has shifted north, bringing a cooler flow from the Gulf of Alaska. For at least the first part of this month, forecast charts show a parade of weather systems that will bring rain at times with snow in the mountains. This weather pattern will finally begin to build our mountain snowpack.
Mountain snow levels this week are expected to be well below the passes, ranging primarily from 1000 feet to as high as 2500 feet. The air mass is cool enough though that the snow level at times may venture down into the higher hills above the Sound.
With La Nina in place for the second consecutive winter season, a healthy mountain snowpack is anticipated as the winter season progresses – good news for those who enjoy snow in the mountains and for water managers next year. Dustin Guy of the National Weather Service in Seattle said, “We usually don’t get the long term shift to La Nina until we get deeper into the winter season, and that’s starting to pan out.”
The weather outlook through the middle of this month offers cooler and wetter than average conditions. So look for this change in the weather pattern to continue as the calendar moves closer to the holidays, and likely into the new year with a good chance of snow down to sea level at some point.