Another May hosing

Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 7:53 am

What a storm!  Areas north of SLC were under the gun all day yesterday.  Ben Lomond Peak picked up a remarkable 4.60″ of liquid.  This probably translated to an extremely sloppy 10-15″ of snow.  However, if it were just 5 degrees colder and lets say they managed 12:1 ratios.  They could be looking at over 50″ of new snow right now.  Still you can see the benefit on the BLP snotel graph:


You can see that the snotel site bottomed out at no snow a couple weeks ago.  But yesterday, the graph shot straight up to over 4″ of SWE.  Remarkably, this is 25% of this winter’s peak snowpack in one May storm.  While this might not have been the largest storm of the season in terms of inches of snow, it was almost certainly the largest in terms of total liquid for the Northern Wasatch.  Snowbasin’s Needles Lodge certainly got hammered.  Based on the chairs, 18″ or more seems likely to have fallen up there: snowbasin Farther south, it took awhile for the band of showers to reach the Cottonwoods with only light snow for much of the day above 8,500 feet.  Eventually, the heavy precip pushed in during the evening which forced snow levels down to 7,500 feet.  Once precip waned this morning, it looks like they shot back up to near 8,500′.  Alta-Collins station showing 15″ of new snow.  This is very, very dense snow that is likely somewhat upside down.  NWS and UAC have issued an AVALANCHE WARNING for the Wasatch.  If you ventured into the backcountry today.  Be very careful.  Hopefully most of you that did go, went early this morning before the snow turns to utter concrete. No matter how you cut it, this was a remarkable storm, in a parade of very wet Spring storms.  Hopefully these are really helping to put a dent in our drought situation heading into the summer.  Of course, it’s impossible not to wish they came a few months ago when the air was cold and the resorts were open. Right now, showers are still lingering, but have for the most part retreated back north of SLC again.  These should gradually decrease, but could flare up again this afternoon with daytime heating: radar   Our next storm moves in late Monday into Tuesday with more valley rain and high mountain snow (above 8,500 feet).  A bit of a break on Wednesday before another Low brings showers to the region Thursday-Saturday.  The second half of Memorial Day weekend looks drier than the first half.  Another storm could be possible beyond Memorial Day although this is a long way out.  The active weather continues…. WSF

As a weather nerd… these type of storms get me all worked up…


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5 thoughts on “Another May hosing

  1. scotchipman

    It should be noted that the Ben Lomond Peak snotel station is only 8,000 ft, the peak is actually at 9700′. The temperature at the peak would have been a few degrees cooler and could have easily saw 30″ of snow in that 4.60″ water!

    1. scotchipman

      The moist adiabatic lapse rate is 3.6 degrees per 1,000 ft, had to look it up since I could not remember. Ben Lomond Peak could have easily been 5 degrees cooler and as much as 8. The temperature during most of the heavy snow at Ben Lomond Peak (8,000 ft) was right around 34 degrees then went up to as high as 37 and likely mixed with or changed to rain, the actual peak would likely have been in the upper 20s during the heavy snow and near 32 in the lighter snow.

        1. scotchipman

          If the Ogden Peak temperatures are correct then I agree Ben Lomond Peak of 9,700 ft was in the mid 20’s. Looking at the Ogden Peak temp compared to the top of Strawberry at Snowbasin something looks off with a 6-7 degree difference in only 570 ft, thinking the top of Ogden Peak could possibly be reading a few degrees too cool? The top pf Strawberry could be reading a few degrees too warm but it looks to match up better with the surrounding observations.

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