The latest U.S. winter outlook spells trouble for dry California.
We’ve been out there many times and all agree that the current forecast is for below-normal snowfall and temperatures this year with most of the storms, which were predicted to form over the past six weeks for parts of the Interior West, now delayed until later in 2014.
But now we’re dealing with a significant dry air mass blowing in from the north and a cold bias in the south that have combined to make California the fifth-hardest hit region in the nation.
Snowfall in the Sierra can usually only occur when there are below-average temperatures. The Sierra received 1.35 inches for the month of January as compared to 1.75 inches for February, according to the National Weather Service. In the last month, the median for the Sierra was 1.12 inches. On the other hand, the Sierra got 0.11 inches in the January of the past four years (2010-2013), according to the National Weather Service.
At least we’re getting our normal snowfall this year.
However, we still expect the January snow total and February snowfall to be below normal.
That means that the storms that have been predicted for the interior West are now delayed until next year. A few storms will form in the first few weeks of March, but none of them will be considered major. In January, there is a very high probability that at least one big storm will hit the Rockies, and possibly the central Rockies.
The storms will hit over a large area of the country, but their main focus will be in the northern Plains and eastern parts of the South and Southwestern regions of the country, where the dry air mass coming from the north will not allow for significant snowfall.
We’ll have much better snowfall prospects for California if we can figure out why the current forecast for this year gives us below-normal snowfall.
The dry air mass coming in along with the cold anomaly has been causing