Northwest News

With ‘Snowmageddon’ behind us, what will Whatcom County’s winter look like this year?

Plows clear snowdrifts on Highway 9 north of Nooksack

Strong northeast winds have kept road crews busy clearing roads of snowdrifts. These snowplow drivers were on Highway 9 north of Nooksack, Wash. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Areas north of Bellingham received some 6 to 10 inches overnight Monday and Tues
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Strong northeast winds have kept road crews busy clearing roads of snowdrifts. These snowplow drivers were on Highway 9 north of Nooksack, Wash. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Areas north of Bellingham received some 6 to 10 inches overnight Monday and Tues

Don’t worry about digging out the snow shovel from the garage, and you probably shouldn’t count on as many snow days, either.

The Farmers’ Almanac Winter Weather long-range forecast for the 2017-18 season says we’re likely to need less of them this winter, though you’ll probably still want to zip that extra layer into your raincoat.

A story on farmersalmanac.com announced the release of the 2018 Farmers’ Almanac, and we in the Pacific Northwest can expect “Brisk, Drier than Normal” conditions this winter. In fact, the western third of the country – or just about anywhere west of the Continental Divide – is not expected to be as wet as last year.

“Our forecasts are pointing to a return to more normal winter conditions in regard to both temperatures and precipitation,” the story said. “This is not to say that there won’t be occasional bouts of heavy precipitation sweeping in from the Pacific, or shots of cold air pushing south through western Canada (because what’s winter without those?), but these should be balanced out by spells of dry and mild weather.”

The National Weather Service’s long-range forecast maps from July looks pretty similar, with precipitation in the Pacific Northwest expected to be near normal and temperatures predicted to be above normal.

We’ll take it, especially after the 2016-17 winter season, which was anything but dry or normal. Or are you still trying to block it from your memory?

Who could blame you, after the area saw 33.67 inches of precipitation from October 2016 to April 2017 – the 10th-wettest rainy season the area has seen in the 60 years since official records starting being kept at Bellingham International Airport?

Highlighting the season was the first week in February, when a series of storms combined to dump several feet of snow in northern parts of Whatcom County, bringing it to a near standstill. The entire season ended up causing nearly $5 million in damage and more than two weeks worth of snow days for many area school districts.

Overall for the United States, the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting colder, more normal conditions east of the Continental Divide, with many areas experiencing above-normal precipitation, particularly in the Southeast, with snowier-than-normal conditions forecast from the Great Lakes to the Northeast.

After last year, they can have it!

According to the website, the Farmers’ Almanac has been “On the money” in predicting a number of major weather events since 1954, including three events last winter.

The Almanac has been making long-range weather predictions since 1818, when it began using a set of rules it “turned into a formula that is both mathematical and astronomical. The formula takes things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the moon, position of the planets and a variety of other factors into consideration.”

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