Nobody really saw this coming. Well almost no one.
The Pacific Northwest was supposed to be in the grips of the dreaded El Niño this winter. Typically, that means warmer-than-average temperatures and below-average snowfall. Skiers hate El Niño because it can mean horrible conditions in the mountains.
Instead, regular storms have pounded the Cascades this winter, creating a well above-average snowpack. Crystal Mountain currently has 95 inches piled up at its top elevation. Mt. Baker Ski Area currently has 168 inches on top.
Earlier this season, most meteorologists were fretting that things would be horrible for then drought-plagued Washington state.
According to Newsweek magazine in October, “The force of El Niño will bring particularly bad news to the Pacific Northwest” in the form of continued drought conditions.
“The bottom line is that El Niño … heavily weights the atmospheric dice for a less stormy, warmer and a bit drier Pacific Northwest,” wrote Cliff Mass, the UW weather savant.