Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Start Building an Ark?

Beaucoup snowpack out there.  Let's have a look thanks to the National Weather Service Colorado Basin River Forecast Center web site.

Tony Grove Lake (8400 ft) is at 64.7" of snow water equivalent (SWE), ahead of their highest previous water year, 1982.

How about a lowland site in the northern Wasatch?  Ben Lomond Trail (6000 ft) is at 23.1" of SWE.  There has been some decline in snowpack the past couple of weeks at this elevation, but the total SWE remains near all-time marks (1984).

Lookout Peak (8200 ft) near the top of City Creek Canyon, 54.1" of SWE, which puts it at a whopping 246% of average, the highest since site installation in 1989.

Snowbird is at 72" of SWE, which incredibly is still a smidge behind the peak in 2005.

You get the point.  The Snotel records for these sites go back 2 or 3 decades, so they are short-term climatologies, but it is safe to say that we have an incredible snowpack not only at upper elevations, but also at lower elevations, a point well made by National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney in his latest spring flood potential briefing.

In addition, there's another storm coming.  We'll have a brief warmup tomorrow and then another deep trough moves across Utah on Friday and Saturday.  The NAM model brings in 700-mb temperatures that are below -14C by Saturday morning.  

In a word, unfreakingbelievable.  So, it is in the bag that we are going to go into May with an incredible snowpack in the upper and lower elevations.  In other words, we're "locked and loaded."  A big runoff is coming.  At issue is will the weather release all this water in a way that is gradual so the flooding is localized or rapid so it is widespread.   Let's hope we don't need an Ark.

Source: Evan Almighty

1 comment:

  1. I am amazed at how cold the Fri/Sat storm looks for the end of April. One web page I occasionally like to look at ( shows that eastern Pacific SST's are currently about a degree C below average. So that could be one factor influencing how cold these storms are.