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We're now entering the crucial window that will determine the momentum of the tropical circulation as we head deeper into 2014.
Right now, a massive kelvin wave (possibly the strongest wave in history) is propagating across the tropical pacific as the climate system begins a significant transition away from the 1998-2012 regime. This wave similar to the persistent wind forcing/wave event that jump started the 1997-98 super Niño. However, I'm not sold that we're in for a strong Niño at this time.
As I've been saying for a year now, I believe winter 2014-15 will feature a weak to moderate El Niño, probably either peaking early and/or featuring two peaks. I base this prediction on stratospheric, solar, and internal parameters..with the Sun/QBO coupling ultimately determining whether or not the upcoming ENSO warming during March/April/May will sustain or recoil into a chaotic mess.
This should be an interesting evolution, as the global circulatory network is now moving away from the dominating 1998-2012 regime.
2/19-20 Winter Storm
Looking at a possible small window of intense snow rates and strong winds around these parts. Most models latched onto this last night and will see if things continue. Hastings NWS mentions the possibility of thunder snow. It won't last long in our area but there could be a chance of seeing near blizzard conditions for a few hours!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT...THE APPROACHING STORM SYSTEM CONTINUES TO LOOK
MORE IMPRESSIVE AND THERE IS INCREASING MODEL AGREEMENT IN OUR AREA
SEEING SOME ACCUMULATING SNOW WITH THIS SYSTEM. THE 00Z
GFS...ECMWF...AND NAM...ALONG WITH THE NOW 06Z NAM ALL INDICATE
GENERALLY 1 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW ACROSS OUR FORECAST AREA LATE
WEDNESDAY NIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING. THE DYNAMICS ARE GOOD WITH
THIS WAVE INCLUDING STRONG FRONTOGENESIS AND IMPRESSIVE LIFT/OMEGA
VALUES. TEMPERATURES WILL RAPIDLY FALL BEHIND THE COLD FRONT AND
MOST OF THE PRECIPITATION IS POST FRONTAL AND IN THE COLD SECTOR
MEANING THAT ALTHOUGH THE PRECIPITATION MAY BRIEFLY START AS RAIN IN
SOME AREAS...IT SHOULD VERY QUICKLY TURN OVER TO SNOW. SOME FORECAST
MODELS INDICATE CONDITIONAL SYMMETRIC INSTABILITY (CSI) AND MAYBE
EVEN SOME OUTRIGHT ELEVATED WEAK CONVECTIVE INSTABILITY.
THEREFORE...EXPECT THIS WILL BE A RATHER INTENSE BAND OF SNOW...IT
MAY NOT LAST MORE THAN A FEW HOURS...BUT SHOULD BE RATHER INTENSE
WHEN IT COMES THROUGH. CAN NOT RULE OUT SOMEONE SEEING THUNDER SNOW
IN THIS SET UP. THE WIND WILL ALSO BE VERY STRONG WHEN THE SNOW
COMES THROUGH WITH 850MB WINDS LIKELY AROUND OR OVER 50 KTS. EXPECT
WE COULD VERY WELL BE NEAR WIND ADVISORY CRITERIA WITHIN THE SNOW
BAND...WHICH WILL LEAD TO POOR VISIBILITY IN BLOWING SNOW. THIS IS
CERTAINLY A STORM SYSTEM TO PAY ATTENTION TO IF YOU HAVE TRAVEL
PLANS THURSDAY MORNING. THE SNOW BAND WILL LIKELY ENTER OUR WESTERN
ZONES AROUND OR JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND EXIT OUR
EASTERN ZONES BETWEEN 7 AND 10 AM THURSDAY MORNING. TIMING MAY VARY
SOME AS WE GET CLOSER...BUT BASED ON OUR CURRENT DATA THIS IS OUR
BEST ESTIMATE AT THIS TIME.
Above Normal Snowfall at Paradise on Mount Rainier as of 2-17-14
I checked the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center site this morning and it appeared that 29 inches of new snow had fallen since yesterday when the automated snow board was brushed off around 3 PM by the ranger staff. There snow pack has reached 155 inches (12 feet 11 inches), normal for the date is 145.5 inches. The all time record for the date is 268 inches (22 feet 4 inches) back in 1972. It is also interesting to note here that 1972 was a world record year for Paradise. The total snowfall for the season ending on June 30th was 1,122 inches and has since been taken over by the Mount Baker Ski Area up north.