Snow far, so good

Published on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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Could this be another record-breaking snow year? There are some people who say this year’s La Niña weather pattern looks suspiciously similar to the big one in 1998.

During the 1998-99 snow season, Mount Baker established a new world record with 1,140 inches of snowfall. The previous record was set in the 1971-72 season with 1,122 inches of snow at Mount Rainer.

“This La Niña has strengthened for the past four months, is strong now and is still building,” says climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “It will surely impact this coming winter’s weather and climate.”

In September, the Northwest can expect above average precipitation followed by below normal temperatures beginning in November.

That has local snowsport enthusiasts salivating at the prospects. Dylan Rees, manager of Yeager’s ski and snowboard shop, says, “We are hoping for a shellacking.” Thierry Werderits, ski buyer at Fairhaven Bike & Ski and an instructor up at Mount Baker, said “Rumor has it it’s going to snow a lot. Hopefully, sooner than later.” Gwyn Howat, ski area operations manager, said staff first figured the ’99 season might be big when serious snow came in mid-November, all at once. Commenting on this year, she said, “Hang on, it’s going to be a wild ride.”