Forecasting a Messy Mix of Rain, Snow, and Wind Slamming Hakuba. Is Hokkaido Next?
It was quite a rollercoaster yesterday (2/22/17) in the Hakuba Region and is getting very messy now that the clock has struck midnight. In fact the reporting station in Hakuba, which is situated at roughly the same elevation as many of the bases (700m above sea level), has reported a very wet almost slushy 5cm of new snow in the past hour, with more expected overnight. The rollercoaster ride began this morning with a chilly morning low of -13.3C before rocketing up by an incredible 17.9 degrees by early afternoon, when at 1pm the high temperature reached 4.6C. To put this into perspective for those who use the imperial system, it equates to a morning low of 8F and an afternoon high of 40F (32 degree increase). While the rollercoaster ride of temperatures was sure to cause some issues with snow conditions at low and middle elevations the real story just started developing in the late evening hours of the 22nd as a low pressure system has rapidly strengthened bringing very heavy precipitation. This should be good news for the slopes, right? In this case in might not be, I am quite concerned about the quality of snow and the possibility of a rain/snow mix which might degrade the current snow pack.
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