This winter’s temperature, precipitation, and snow cover

Astronomical winter does not end until March 20, but we are already mentally summarizing the weather we experienced over the last three months and are thinking about what the spring and summer wildfire seasons might look like. Below are charts from NOAA showing this winter’s precipitation, temperature, snow cover, and lastly the drought outlook.

Winter 2014-2015 average temp

Winter 2014-2015 precipitation


Below is the legend for the amount, in inches, that the predicted snow depth (shown on the following maps) on March 9 will depart from normal.

Legend, snow depth departure inches


Snow depth departure WA OR N-CA

Snow depth departure MT ID WY

Snow depth departure WA CA NV

Snow depth departure UT CO NM AZSnow depth departure ND SD MN Snow depth departure midwest Snow depth departure northeast

Drought outlook, February, 2015
Drought outlook, February, 2015

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “This winter’s temperature, precipitation, and snow cover”

  1. Time will tell…
    I have lived my life in the Inland Northwest (eastern Washington, North Idaho) and western Montana – and this, though my own anecdotal story, is the lowest snow fall, sunniest February/March I remember…getting spoiled now…
    Typically (although I don’t know if that’s still valid), June is our big moisture month that predicts how early our season starts, but with basically no precipitation for weeks, very sunny, dry conditions, and still a few weeks from serious green up, were are primed for decent fire growth now – especially the basin (central Washington). Give us an early season wind event, a lackadaisical landowner, and we could easily have 1000+ acres in a day right now.
    Last year was weird – very hot July, moderate August – and this winter is continuing the “weirdness”.

  2. Thanks for putting all that together, Bill. It’s hard to look at all of that and not predict a dire situation for the western fire season.


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