Winter is officially just barely more than half over, but its obituaries are coming fast and furious -- mainly courtesy of an Associated Press article earlier this week that posed the question: "Could Seattle see a winter without snow?"
Sure, it's been a very boring winter by all accounts -- so far our 2012-13 winter trophies consist of a 12-day "Fog Storm" and 27 days of December rain. As for snow? Just 0.6" at Sea-Tac Airport on Dec. 17 and a trace on three other dates. Even taking snow out the equation, the other two big winter events, heavy rains and strong winds, have mainly been MIA as well.
What we've been left with are a lot of mundane cloudy days with some light rain at times. February has had measurable rain on eight of 12 days but seven of those days were less than a tenth of an inch with 0.14" being the wettest day so far. January had a wet two-day period on the 8th-9th (2.15" combined) and then the other 15 rainy days of the month -- save the 28th -- had less than a quarter inch of rain.
The good news is the drippy rain showers down here have been enough to at least keep our mountain snowpack pretty close to normal, but for a neutral year, I think a lot of snow fans were hoping a day or two to ski Queen Anne Hill.
But to those who have given up, I have a chart that shows a lot of blue that just might cure the missing-winter blues.
And no, we're not talking blue skies either.
This is the general forecast for 8-14 days out. Note the West Coast is expected to dip into quite the chilly pattern:
Now, this doesn't mean Seattle's about to spend a week in the 20s with 6" snow drifts, it just means the odds are pretty high that we're going to be colder than normal in that period.
Indeed, the long range computer models have been toying with punching some colder air into the region from the Gulf of Alaska in the week after next. There is much variability in the specific forecasts as you would expect with a forecast that far out, and so far no scenarios have painted a big arctic outbreak nor winter storm (Those who are hoping we'll get "Winter Storm Orko" or "Winter Storm Q" from the Weather Channel might have to wait till next year).
But at least it's...something. And not just more "scattered light showers with highs in the upper 40s and a low of 38". And contrary to what seems like prevailing themes that we're supposed to be in the low 60s by late February or something, it has snowed in Seattle even into early March in our past.
So don't take this as an "it's going to snow in two weeks" forecast yet -- way too early for that sort of proclamation. But for snow fans, it's just a pep talk to not give up on winter just yet.
By the way, Seattle does average an essentially snow-less winter about twice a decade. The last time was just a few years' back in the 2009-10 winter. Most of those blank years were El Nino, not neutral years, so hang in there!