A few snow showers from I-80 south this morning with little to no accumulation. We clear out this weekend with warming temps. Next storm for Monday will bring more cold air but will lack precipitation, perhaps only light amounts. Another storm for late Tuesday into Wednesday next week could bring accumulating snowfall to the mountains.
If you live in the Salt Lake Valley like I do, perhaps you looked outside today and saw snow on the ground and thought “Powder Day?!?”… but alas, this shallow boundary is probably doing as much or more in the valley than in the mountains. Webcams in the Cottonwoods showing less than an inch of accumulation so far. This snowfall will slowly move south and dissipate this morning.
We will clear out late today and warm up for the weekend, another Spring skiing type of weekend. On Monday, our next system moves into the area. This looks like it will bring much cooler air back into the region, but the system loses its moisture as it crosses the Great Basin. Right now, it looks like a few mountain snow showers is all we will get out of it.
A third and more promising system will move in around Wednesday of next week. Timing is slightly different in each model so I’m estimating, but it does look like this system will hold together a bit better than the Monday system. Hopefully we can get some measurable snowfall out of it.
Beyond that, models disagree and therefore confidence is just about zero. GFS gives us a break, ECMWF has another system for the following weekend. We’ll just have to wait and see. For the most part, the storm door is open. But keeping with our theme since the New Year, it seems like even when the storm door is open, it is unusually difficult for us to get anything other than weak, brush-by systems into the Wasatch. Frustrating…
In other news, I thought it would be interesting to look today at everybody’s favorite basin snowpack map. This time, I wanted to compare the snowpacks from the end of December to current, just to emphasize how sour everything has turned since the calendar flipped to 2015. Here is a map I posted back in late December:
The Cascades and the Sierra Nevada were already struggling a bit, but the interior west was doing rather well, especially in the Northern Rockies. Even the Wasatch was rocking well-above median numbers. Then, it all stopped. One storm in the middle of January. A snowy end to February and beginning of March. But aside from that, essentially nothing. Here are the numbers now:
We’ve plummeted down into the 30% range in the Central Wasatch due to a combination of no snow and warm temps. But it’s not just us… Not a single basin in the Western U.S. is above the median now. California basins are not part of this map, but they just released their April 1 observations and they have a statewide average snowpack of 5%, so even lower than any other state. Another way to look at it is to look at the Snowbird snotel:
Snowbird is now at less than half the mean average and 53% of median. You can see it seems to have peaked and has been losing liquid. The net liquid gained since New Years is about 4″ of SWE. It’s unheard of for Snowbird to go from Jan 1 to April 1, three of the snowiest months, and only gain a net of 4″ of liquid. The raw numbers really are stunning. The three previous years were sub-par, but this year is venturing bravely into the record books.
Anyway, enough rambling about how bad things are. Let’s just hope the next couple weeks actually delivers for us so we can improve these numbers, even just a bit. I am almost ready to call it a season, but I wouldn’t mind one last powder day….