Yes we live on an island. Many of us moved here for the temperate climates. The founding American pioneers came here to escape the grueling snowstorms and freezing temperatures in the east and the extra inches of rainfall on the mainland.
Many of us living in this beautiful place still look forward to white winters, including those early morning ferry rides and the long drives to Mt. Baker, Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass in the hunt for fresh powder and blue skies. This year there is truly no point in waxing one’s skis with Snoqualmie Pass closed until future notice. Stevens Pass and Mt. Baker are also dismal destinations with snow reports of zero inches day after day.
It is as if winter was skipped this year and fall has bled into spring. Flower bulbs are popping up everywhere and gardeners from the east side visiting our isle are envious.
For some, this is proof that global warming is happening. For skiers and boarders, this weather is just a drag. According to weather experts like Cliff Mass, the current weather conditions do not necessarily point to climate change.
During a lecture last year, Mass told an audience of islanders that areas like the Pacific Northwest and Alaska will become wetter as climate change progresses. The Pacific Northwest in itself is an interesting region to explore when it comes to climate change because of how little it has warmed. Our weather is controlled by the Pacific Ocean, and research has shown that the Eastern Pacific has not warmed.
On a Feb. 7 blog post Mass wrote that winter technically ends the third week in February in this part of the state: “We are now close enough to that period to know that it is unlikely that we will get a major event [i.e. snowstorms] before the typical transition to spring.”
The bright spot for powder chasers is that the Cascade snowpack typically increases until roughly April 1. Mass does go on to say that “virtually every tool at my disposal suggests that the preternatural warmth will continue.”
So although Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year – thus predicting that there would be six more weeks of winter – he obviously meant in Boston and not in Eastsound.
So our best recommendation is that you put your skies in storage and trade your puffy gloves for gardeners’ garb and head to the garden to watch the cherry trees blossom and to eradicate the fast-growing weeds. Spring is here.
To stay on top of the weather, visit http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/.