February brought most snow and cold
February left us with a good amount of snow and was our coldest month, too.
We measured 8.3 inches of new snow here at the home weather station (compared to a mean snowfall is 2.5 inches and a high of 17.1 inches in 1959) and a low temperature of minus 1.8°F on the 6th of the month (minus 15°F was our lowest in 1950). Our total precipitation was 1.46 inches which, as always this time of year, includes Snow Water Equivalent (SWE). The high temperature for the month was 51.6°F on the 12th (61°F was our highest in 1995). The mean temperature was just 28.9°F a good 3.8°F lower than the all-time mean of 32.7°F for February.
As March continues to unfold, we’ve seen our precipitation numbers climb. Our annual precipitation here in the Grand Coulee is just 10.55 inches annually. So far this new year we stand at 2.75 inches here at the home weather station. Realize that local snow and rainfall can vary between locations in a small region like the Grand Coulee area.
Looking at snowpack for Washington state and SWE percentages, the west side of the Cascades is above normal. The east slopes are at or just below normal. To our north, we are just over normal, but to the northeast and southeast the percentages are below normal by 15 points as they are in the mid to upper 80 percentiles. I noticed that on Saturday, March 15, water was flowing over the Grand Coulee Dam.
To our south in California, a place we should watch as the year and their drought progresses, the drought conditions are looking rather problematic. The Sierra Nevada Mountains provide the bulk of water to agriculture and the state’s population. Though there have been some improvement, the SWE figures are showing only about one third normal percentages. I looked at a listing of the major water reservoirs in California and it is hard to find any that are at or near historic “acreage feet inches averages.” Why the concern over California’s drought? Food. The state of California produces a wide variety of crops and lot of them. Watch store prices.
Well, that big event we all look forward to in March is fast approaching. The Spring Equinox occurs on March 20 this year. This is what happens: On equinox, both night and day are nearly exactly the same length, 12 hours all across the planet. This is the reason it's called "equinox," Latin, meaning "equal night."
A full moon will have occurred on Sunday, March 16.