Cold and snowy January in the Almanor basin
By Dale Knutsen
Special to Plumas News
Whoever is doing the snow dance can turn down the music and give it a rest for a while. January in the Lake Almanor basin was a true winter experience with colder than normal temperatures and an unusually heavy snowfall. The west shore area recorded 50.5 inches of new snow during the month, well over the average amount for January. That brings our season total to 152.5 inches, or 210% of the long-term average accumulation for this point in the July-June precipitation season. In fact, that current accumulation is 119% of our ANNUAL average snowfall.
Water content is coming up nicely as well. January added 11.41 inches of water to our earlier figures, bringing the season total to 28.22 inches or 160% of the long-term average for the end of January. That amount of water isn’t usually accumulated until about mid April.
January is typically a cold month locally, but this year was colder than usual. The average morning low temperature at Chester airport was 16.4 degrees, which is more than 3 degrees colder than the long-term average. We plunged to zero (0) degrees F. twice, on the 20th and the 31st. The January average high was 40.5 degrees, a bit more than one degree colder than the long-term figure, and we did manage to hit a balmy 55 degrees once.
Our substantial snowpack is likely to stay in place until we start getting more frequent warming temperatures or perhaps some warm rain. February usually is a bit warmer and dryer than January but we’ll simply have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store for us.