snowpack

Shannon Kringen / Flickr via Compfight

The weekend forecast includes chances of snow, but nothing's for certain, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

"This is a hard one," said Mass. “There’s a lot of uncertainty here. I’ll tell you that right in the beginning.”

Jim Stiles

We’re getting the “weather we need,” so get ready for a wet and windy weekend, says KPLU expert Cliff Mass.

“Our water supply was well below normal,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. “Very rapidly, the snowpack is getting replenished in the mountains. The reservoirs are filling. And by the end of this week, I don’t think we’ll have to worry water for this summer or the coming fall.”

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A dry start to winter has left the snowpack in Washington far short of normal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's snow survey office in Mount Vernon says as of Jan. 1, snowpack readings were 45 percent of normal for that time of year.

Kael Martin / University of Washington

Quick quiz: In springtime, does snow melt faster out in the open or in the shade? 

You might figure it melts faster in the sunshine, and that seems to be the case for cold climates. But in places with temperate winters, like the Pacific Northwest, it might be just the opposite.

At least three or four more days of rainstorms are headed to the northwest. They'll cycle through approximately every 18 hours, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Fresh snow in the mountains has slightly delayed the reopening of one high mountain pass in the Washington Cascades. Highway crews are on track to reopen two other scenic cross state routes before Memorial Day.

What's slowing them down? The snowpack is deeper than average for this time of year in Washington, north Idaho and the northern Oregon Cascades.

Flickr user Hunda / flickr.com

The Pacific Northwest has emerged from winter with an above average snowpack, and that's good news for the region's hydroelectric dams. Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco says, “The snowfall we have received in the mountains this winter was fantastic.”