This week, we’re hearing about (and seeing) snow in Wapato, even Walla Walla. North of Spokane, from Deer Park to Colville, from Sandpoint, ID to Post Falls, 8-16 inches of snow. But why not us? (picture taken locally in Kennewick a few years ago)
At one point on Wednesday, November 30th, every region of the state (except us) was under some sort of winter storm watch or major storm warning. Here’s why we don’t get a ton of regular snow.,
we live in a bowl…the Columbia Basin
Just like a washbowl, in geography or topography, a basin is a huge dent in the earth’s surface. These tend to cause inversions when it comes to weather and can cause the weather to ‘skirt’ around us. It’s not a perfectly round bowl, but in general, we are lower. Inversions are like bubbles, and can push weather around us, like water flows around a rock.
The Cascades and other mountains wring out the clouds
According to The Western Regional Climate Center, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains cause clouds and weather to lift or elevate, dropping their water. By the time fronts make it over the mountains, they’re a lot less potent.
Geography affects the weather coming our way
Also, the Columbia Gorge and hills create a trough or giant path where the weather is influenced past us at times. Just like our basin creates inversions that affect weather, these other geographical factors push it past us.
There is also what’s called the rain shadow effect, which relates to how mountains and changes in elevation affect how much precipitation we get. Sometimes we do get massive amounts of precip and cold weather combined, but it’s not the usual common weather.
That’s not a Big Bang Theory explanation from Sheldon, but in simple terms, a few of the reasons why often time snow just skips us by.
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