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Month in review
January weather, from calm to chaotic
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012
By Brian Clark, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences
PROSSER, Wash. - January weather behaved like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Uneventful conditions prevailed during the first half of the month followed by winter weather that came with a vengeance in mid-January.
On Jan. 18, up to 17 inches of snow fell in western Washington in the Centralia area in less than 24 hours; heavy snow fell in eastern Washington. Heavy precipitation also shored up the region’s snow pack, giving Washington growers a reason to heave a sigh of relief.
"The series of high impact winter storms that affected Washington beginning on Jan. 18 produced a variety of hazards that included heavy snowfall, significant ice accumulations, cold temperatures, heavy rain, flooding and wind,” said Nic Loyd, AgWeatherNet meteorologist.
A Web-based, publicly available system, AgWeatherNet provides access to near real-time weather data and value-added products from Washington State University’s statewide weather network, along with decision aids for agricultural producers and other users.
Warmer temperatures and heavy rain led to flooding in parts of western Washington, while in some areas east of the Cascades snow fell for several days, leaving places with a foot or more. Some areas in the Cascades received up to eight feet of snow during the active weather period of Jan. 14-23, which is good news for the water supply and for Washington farmers.
"Heavy mountain snowfall during the third week of January caused a dramatic improvement in what had been a dangerously low snowpack earlier in the month,” said Gerrit Hoogenboom, AgWeatherNet director.
January ended with a return of milder and relatively tranquil conditions. Overall, only seven to 10 days featured active weather in Washington during the month.
For more information on the January winter storms, please see the January Weather Review on the AgWeatherNet website located under the News link.