The National Weather Service station up in Hanford, CA posted this photo to Twitter today. "Looks like August with lack of snow," the entry says. Yeah. It's at 8,100 feet of elevation in the Sierra Nevada, within Yosemite National Park. There should be a snowpack there in February — ideally several feet deep. There's just a dusting of snow visible on the high ridges above tree line. This, friends, is ugly coming as it does after a three years of very reduced winter snowpacks, close-to-empty reservoirs and depleted groundwater aquifers. "As bad as last winter was for the #cawx snowpack, this year is worse," Doug Carlson, the state Department of Water Resources information officer, said on Twitter this week. The World Cup ski competition scheduled for Squaw Valley has been cancelled. At this point you have to wonder, how many days of skiing each winter will there be anywhere in the future California?
Here's a bit of the bigger picture, snow-wise.
The Los Angeles station of the weather service tweeted that the hamlet of Sandberg, in the Tehachapi Mountains of LA County on the old Ridge Route, is sixteen degrees above normal for February. Daniel Swain at the California Weather Blog posts that the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of high pressure has formed again, keeping wet storms away from California. "Typical winter conditions still nowhere to be found in California," he posts.
Well, it has certainly been warm out there. Record warmth, in fact, has occurred on most days so far this calendar year somewhere in the state of California.
A veritable February heatwave occurred over the recent holiday weekend, bringing record highs from the Mexican border all the way up to Oregon. And the calendar year to date, in some spots (including San Francisco), is currently the warmest on record. 2015 thus far is certainly among the warmest calendar years to date on a statewide basis, and will likely surpass (by the end of February) the previous record…set just last year (in 2014).
Well, folks, we’ve now reached that point once again: a distinctly positive geopotential height anomaly is now present in 2-3 month averages across the far northeastern Pacific and West Coast, signaling that the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge has indeed returned.
I love when he talks that way.
A final observation on the weirdness of the weather these days: