Snowpack in Olympics 140 percent of normal
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Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News
The snowcaps of the Olympic Mountains gleam in the sun on Sunday. Heavy snow on the peaks has lingered into spring.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

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Heavy snow that slammed the Olympic Mountains late last year has lingered into spring, leaving a snowpack that is 140 percent of normal for this time of year, a water supply specialist said.

“You guys started off really strong and just stayed that way,” said Scott Pattee of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mount Vernon.

“That whole Peninsula is in good shape for snowpack.”

Snowpack, a gauge of water content within the snow, is measured from three sites in the Olympics: a 4,010-foot-high location in the upper Dungeness basin, a 3,960-foot site on Mount Crag in East Jefferson County and a 5,010-foot telemetry site near Hurricane Ridge.

As of Friday, snowpack at the Dungeness site was 250 percent of normal, Mount Crag showed a 125 percent reading and the Waterhole site on Hurricane Ridge was 131 percent of normal, said the Natural Resources Conservation Service Water and Climate Center in Portland, Ore.

The snow water equivalent for the combined Olympic basin was 211 percent of normal in early January.

The late-fall snowstorms built a solid snowpack that survived a drier-than-average winter, Pattee said.

Pattee added the Cascade Mountains snowpack also is above average.

“Statewide, we're around 112 percent,” he said. “It's as good as it's going to get.”

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at

Last modified: March 31. 2013 6:15PM
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