Sunday, October 26, 2014

A New Season

It's that time again. The cool, wet days have returned to Seattle after a stellar summer of sun and warmth.  It feels like a switch has been flipped nearly every year, though the timing of when it happens does vary quite a bit.  This year it is in mid-October.

The early dustings of snow in the Cascades are transient.  It snows lightly, warms up a bit, rains, then melts the new snow away.  Just like the rain in the lowlands, there is an event - a snowfall that actually heralds the coming of the cold air to the high elevations begins the lay down the new base of snow that won't melt away until the summer.  We actually want that snow to be more dense here in the Northwest. Those first layers often do get a little rain on them which compacts them as the layer bonds to the surface below.  That bonding keeps us from having deep, climax slides that rip all of the snow down to the earth that we seen in the mountain states.  We have had some years with a very cold early season and those have led to greater loss of life in the backcountry from avalanches.

The forecast is for a la Nina year - warmer and wetter overall.  But really its about the timing - if the precipitation comes mostly when its a colder front, we'll get plenty of snow. That's what we are hoping for - plenty of snow and a well bonded snow pack.  Bring it on so we can get our board on and earn some turns!

No comments: