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See how the snowpack measures up near Mount Baker

Mount Baker overlooking  Bellingham, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.
Mount Baker overlooking Bellingham, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Snowpack in the North Cascades around Mount Baker is ahead of normal, boding well for the state’s water needs this summer, meteorologists said this week.

The National Weather Service tweeted Wednesday morning that much of Washington state’s snowpack is below normal, except for the area around Mount Baker in Whatcom County.

Snowpack at Mount Baker is 96 inches, which is 108 percent of normal, said meteorologist Mike McFarland in Seattle. A separate measure, called the “snow water equivalent,” shows the region at 121 percent of normal, he said.

“Looking at it so far, I was surprised that the numbers were so high,” McFarland said.

But the North Cascades in Whatcom County did lose accumulated snow during a warm spell in early December that caused flooding concerns in the Western Washington lowlands around Seattle.

Snowfall data came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, he said.

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A National Weather Service graphic shows Mount Baker with 96 inches of snow, which is 108 percent of normal. National Weather Service Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

At the Mt. Baker Ski Area, there’s a 92-inch base at the 4,300-foot Heather Meadows and a 112-inch base at the 5,000-foot Panorama Dome, according to the ski area’s online snow report.

McFarland said forecasts of a colder and wetter winter for the Northwest are holding solid.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the second half of January and all of February is stormy in the mountains,” he said.

Meanwhile, more snow is forecast for the Mount Baker wilderness. Rain is expected Thursday with a high temperature in the low 40s. Snow arrives Friday and continues through Sunday, with temperatures in the 30s.

Another 6 inches to a foot of snow is possible over the three-day period, forecasters said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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