Ken Clark

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Hope You Enjoyed the Rain and Snow; Changes Coming

January 23, 2012; 1:33 PM ET

It was nice to see good rain and snow through California this weekend into Monday. The previous six to seven weeks had been so dry, but I warned you that the winter pattern was not going to be conducive for a prolonged period of stormy weather in the Southwest. I have said that there is little chance of getting back to normal snowpack in the Sierra, or rainfall in the lower elevations, before the rainfall season is over. The longer-range models are bearing that out.

The current storm moving through California exits to the east tonight bringing rain and snow across Arizona then New Mexico tonight and tomorrow. Much of the precipitation will be in the higher elevations. Once this storm moves through the storm track drastically moves north tomorrow through the rest of the workweek. There will be a couple more storms move through the Northwest, one tomorrow and another Wednesday, but these are warmer storms and at most bring rain south to extreme northern California. Then after that the storm track looks like it shifts north of much of the Northwest through the weekend.

Farther south, there does not seem to be any chance for precipitation tomorrow through next week whether one looks at the GFS or the European, and it seems the CPC agrees with this. Here is the prediction from them.

6- to 10-Day Precipitation Forecast:

8- to 14-Day Precipitation Forecast:

Yes, the weekend snow in the Sierra certainly was a help especially for the ski resorts, but the following table released today by the California Cooperative Snow Survey shows that the snow water equivalent, not including today's snowfall, was still only 26 to 33 percent of normal for this date and 14 to 18 percent of April 1 normal. Compare this to what was reported two weeks ago, 14 percent of normal to that date and 6 percent of April normal, one can see more clearly what this weekend did and did not mean to the overall drought story.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Ken Clark
Ken Clark's Western U.S. weather blog tackles daily weather events with commentary from one of the most experienced and trusted Western U.S. weather experts.