Wet Winter Review

Wet Winter Review

Cliff Mass has blogged on the unusually wet winter it has been across much of the Western U.S. Of interest is the large portion of Western Wyoming that had a near record wet winter.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Spatial View of a Wet Winter

This has been an amazingly wet winter– but where has it been most unusual?   To gain insights into this important question, here is an analysis from the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC) showing the percent of normal for October 2016-March 2017 precipitation over the western U.S.  The darkest greens indicate the wettest on record.  A huge region region stretching from northern CA through northern Nevada, into Idaho,  Wyoming, Montana and eastern WA.  Nearly the entire Northwest U.S. was in top 10% wet season.  The April version will add parts of western WA.

The late winter (Feb-March) maps shows how wet conditions were particularly unusual in the northern Rockies.  Eastern Washington, Idaho, and western Montana had unprecedented large amounts of precipitation.

Mean temperatures from October through March?  Cooler than normal over Washington and Oregon….no big surprise.

This week, a colleague at the US Army Corps of Engineers told me that the soils of our region are extraordinarily saturated….and that he was worried about spring flooding.   Well, here is the latest soil moisture observations based on the GRACE satellite (measures moisture using its effects of gravity). The entire Northwest is WAY wetter than normal (darker blue colors).