Clear skies and warm temperatures dominated the weather today. There were significant temperature differences between the colder eastern valleys and drainages further west. Even in deep valleys, sheltered in the forest, winds were moderate and very warm. Even at the highest elevations, there was no evidence of blowing snow.
I took a tour of some of the East Central zone to see how the snowpack has held up to the warm temperatures and sunny skies.
While upper elevations seem to be holding onto a decent amount of snow, it is notable just how much snow we have lost since the transition from a cold and snowy December to a warm and dry January and February. For example, the Sasse Ridge SNOTEL is down to an HS of 49 inches after a peak of 77 inches on Jan 6th.
Besides the dwindling snowpack, there were a few big takeaways today.
- Despite the very warm temperatures, there was minimal wet loose avalanche activity. Many slopes had plenty of rollerballs, but these did not entrain much additional snow on their descent.
- Winds have scoured some westerly aspects to dirt and rocks.
- Southerly aspects have melted back significantly, and substantial bare ground is visible in some steep rocky areas.
- At Twentynine Pines SnoPark in the Teanaway, temperatures were below freezing, 30°F. While just over 10 miles west, the Salmon La Sac SnoPark was 20°F warmer, at a balmy 50°F. It seems the cool air pooled in low laying valleys east of the Cascades had an abrupt western boundary today.