Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Incredible Mountain Effects

Lots of interesting stuff going on in todays storm.  Check out in the loop below the very persistent echoes over the Northern Wasatch, the Stansbury Mountains, the Oquirrh Mountains, and the area around the Cottonwoods (crudely identified by red boxes).

The Northern Wasatch has really gotten a pounding.  Ben Lomond Peak near Ogden has seen its snow depth increase 20 inches in the past 24 hours.  They will be moving into "too much of a good thing" territory if this keeps up.

Similarly, the Middle Bowl site at Snowbasin has a storm total of 18 inches.

Check out what is happening across the Cottonwoods.  The flow at crest level is westerly.  There is strong enhancement evident along the Wasatch Front, but the strong echoes barely penetrate to the Park City ridgeline.  There are very few echoes by the time one gets downstream of the Cottonwoods.

Here's what automated snow depth sensors show since the beginning of the storm last night through 10 am:

Elberts (7600 ft in Little Cottonwood): 12 inches
Alta-Atwater (8700 ft): 12 inches
Alta-Collins (9600 ft): 8 inches
Deer Valley Ruby (8300 ft): 1 inch

Check out the contrast between Alta and Deer Valley based on web cams

Alta.  Source: Alta Lodge
Silver Lake.  Source: Deer Valley
Snow at Alta, filtered sun at Deer Valley.  It looks like we have a remarkably strong mountain wave in the westerly flow over the Cottonwoods, with the strong lee subsidence preventing much penetration of snow into the lee.  The contrast in snowfall between the sites in Little Cottonwood Canyon and Alta-Collins is sure interesting (yet again!) and in need of explanation.  I have ideas, but need to get back to my day job.  

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