Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Storm Update

It's feeling quite maritime out there this morning as temperatures and dewpoints are in the mid 40s, there are low clouds hanging all over the mountains, showers are widespread, and the snow level is quite high.

I find it quite depressing to check out the weather cameras from the mountains. Nothing "eats" a snowpack like the combination of high dewpoint temperatures, low clouds or fog, and rain.  Here's a quick visual tour from below to above the melting layer.

Wolf Creek Ski Area.  Looks like a Vermont ski day.
Parleys Summit.  Looks like a Cascade ski day.
Top of Snowbird.  Looks like a Sierra ski day.
The morning sounding from the Salt Lake airport shows the freezing level to be at 6179 ft above ground level, or almost 10,500 ft above sea level.  The snow level is typically about 1000 feet below the freezing level.  Right now, the Alta-Collins observing site at 9662 ft is 32F.  They've received 2" of snow with .46" of water since midnight.  Yes, that's more than 20% water content.  It's 38F at the base of Alta, so if you are skiing today, you'll get a good lesson in how to ski in the melting layer and should bring your best Hefty bag to wear.

Stream gauge data suggests several rivers and creeks in northern Utah are near bankfull, above bankfull, or above flood stage.

A National Weather Service flood watch continues through Tuesday morning for the Cache Valley, Wasatch Mountains from I-80 north, Wasatch Mountain Valleys, and northern Wasatch Front.  They have also issued a flood warning for the Blacksmith Fork River in Cache County.  The hydrograph shows that river reached flood stage this morning.

Periods of rain will continue today as the trough moves through.  For the latest on flood conditions, see the National Weather Service web site.

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