Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snow - Is Anyone Thinking About It?

A little exercise before work this morning
Stratum Group's snow free sidewalks

Not sure I could add much to the snow discussion. Sporadic and somewhat random snow showers over western Washington the past two days and that appears to be the case today. Snowed fairly hard last night in Bellingham. The big question is how far south will the warm subtropical stream of moisture from the southwest hit the coast and how will it mix with the colder air over western Washington. Presently the warm system is projected too far south for much snow in Seattle on north but a good dose for southwest Washington although it may be a mix of snow and freezing rain.

For Bellingham where I live we are getting ready for very cold wind out of the Fraser River Canyon as the associated low with the subtropical system pulls air out of the interior of British Columbia. The temperature gradients from Fraser outflow events always fascinates me. This morning it briefly warmed to 34 in Bellingham, but Abostford only 20 miles to the north was at 18 and Hope up in the Fraser valley another 30 miles was 11. Since then Bellingham has dropped down to 21 a few occasional flakes of snow and a brief bit of sun and then back to snow.

The weather models and the local models for this snowy stretch have really been a challenge for the weather folks. It is during these events that one develops an appreciation of how the Olympic Range influences weather.

That said a possible policy issue in Bellingham is sidewalks and snow. And perhaps this round of snowy weather will stir that issue a bit. Because western Washington doe not typically have extended periods of snow sidewalks are often left untouched when it snows. However, as this current snow situation plays out Bellingham's sidewalks will stay snow covered and get progressively icier as it very well may be a few more days of sub freezing weather.

Regardless of a lack of of regulations regarding clearing of sidewalks I cleared mine at home then walked to work and cleared the walks around our office.

Perhaps it is because I was born in New Hampshire and lived for a time in the Midwest that my attitude towards what one does when it snows is a bit different that most Bellinghamhasters. Last winter the walking got tough for a period. Lisa got me some snow cleats for Christmas. They worked well for the walk home yesterday and I suspect they will be handy this evening. Too bad one needs them to traverse downtown.


1 comment:

Sam Crawford said...

The "convergence zone" can be amazingly narrow. This morning at 10 am it was 34 degrees F from downtown B'ham up to the intersection of Meridian and Bakerview (little to no wind), and then a consistent drop - for 3 miles northward - to 20 degrees F at Guide Meridian and Smith (steady strong NE wind). From Smith Road north to Lynden it didn't get colder.

PS I like the cleats.