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Record Snow Pacific Northwest and China

By Joe D'Aleo
Monday, November 30, 2009


Whistler Blackcomb ski resort has reported 98” the last seven days and 165” November. This makes it the snowiest November on Record at Whistler Blackcomb.

See larger image here. H/T Tim Kelley.

“I’ve skied here for over 15 years and I’ve never seen this much snow so early in a season, it seems like every day’s snowfall is topping the last,” said Stephen Butt, communications coordinator and voice of the Snow Phone for Whistler Blackcomb told the Vancouver Sun. “We have already received one third of our average annual snowfall for the entire season and it’s only four days into the season, it’s unbelievable!”

See photo gallery here.

This record Whistler Blackcomb ski resort November snowfall is occurring in spite of the National Weather Service predictions in No Need to go to the Desert for the Winter, in the October 1 Tacoma News Tribune link, that begins as follows,

“Skiers may want to hold off on buying that new set of snow skis for the coming winter. Umbrellas still will come in handy but there may not be enough rain to seriously challenge river levees.  El Nino is back and that usually means a mild Northwest winter with less rain and higher temperatures than normal, one of the National Weather Service
s top climatologists said Wednesday.”

Additional information courtesy of Ken Schlichte as of November 19th: “Looks like record snow coming to Mt Hood too. Timberline already has a 50 inch base and 98 inch snow fall to date with much more snow forecast for the rest of November.  See links here and here.


See these stories on the killer cold and snow in China here and here. Unusually early snow storms in north-central China have claimed 40 lives, caused thousands of buildings to collapse and destroyed almost 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) of winter crops, the Civil Affairs Ministry said Friday. Nineteen of the deaths resulted from traffic accidents related to the storms that began Nov. 9, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

The snowfall is the heaviest in the northern and central provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong and Henan since record keeping began after the establishment of the Communist state in 1949, the ministry said without giving detailed figures. It estimated economic losses from the storm at 4.5 billion yuan (US$659 million).

Chinese state media say some of the snow was induced through cloud seeding, although the precise amount of snowfall in all areas was not reported and it wasn’t clear what the previous records were. Hebei’s provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, received the heaviest snowfall - 3.7 inches (9.4 centimeters) - on Nov. 10.

More than 7.5 million people have been stranded or otherwise affected by the storms, which caused the collapse of more than 9,000 buildings, damaged 470,000 acres (190,000 hectares) of crops, and forced the evacuation of 158,000 people, the ministry said. State media have reported at least two deaths were caused by the collapse of buildings, including a school cafeteria. Beijing has been hit by three successive waves of snow, causing havoc on roadways and forcing the cancellation or delay of scores of flights.

The capital and surrounding areas are little prepared to deal with such heavy snow, with few plows or road deicing supplies. Snow tires and chains are almost unknown and many drivers simply leave their cars at home and turn to public transport in such conditions. The impact has been far greater in the surrounding provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong and Henan, where highways have been closed, schools shuttered, and crews sent to rescue people in their snowbound homes.

Freak snow and ice storms last year hit parts of eastern and southern China unaccustomed to such weather. Those storms paralyzed key transport systems just as millions of migrant workers were heading home for the Lunar New Year holiday, leading to more than 80 deaths and billions of dollars in damage.

See FSU snowcover. Note the greater than normal extent in Asia, less in southern Canada north central US. This will change late this month.

See latest image here.

Still notice the above normal snowpack in mid latitudes (35-55 N).

See latest image here.