Thursday, January 2, 2014

The SnowPocalypse of 2013

The good folk over at Weather Underground have a nifty page that summarizes the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service California SNOTEL data.

The data tell an awful truth: the Sierra Nevada are as dry as they have ever been.

For a more vivid depiction, check Weather Underground's U.S. National Snow Depth Map.

As you can see from the map, there are entire states that are covered by snow right now: North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine.

But California?


Well, OK, there is a small ellipse of snow.

And when you look at the the numeric data, you can see that, above 7000 feet or so, there is in fact about a foot of snow on the ground, and by the time you get to 9,000 feet, perhaps two feet of snow on the ground.

But, at this time of year, those numbers would more typically be 4 feet of snow at the lower elevations, and 10 feet of snow at the higher elevations.

The nightly news contain hopeful weather forecasters who stare at the blank maps of weather fronts, mumble things about "a persistent ridge of high pressure over the Western Pacific," and speculate wildly about "a 5% chance of some precipitation a week from now."

Dry, dry, dry: the SnowPocalypse is upon us.

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