Thursday, January 31, 2013

More Weirdness

Weather is weird, and it frequently does not conform to our climatological expectations.  Meteorologists often say that climate is what you expect and weather is what you get, but this winter seems even wackier than usual.  From the "Mother of All Inversions" to storms that produce more snow in the valley than the mountains, this winter has given us a full range of insanity, which continued yesterday.

In the higher elevations, very low density snow fell during the day on Tuesday.  We're talking 4% water content.  Then higher density snow fell yesterday which, when combined with rime, contributed to the development of upside down snow.  Today's Utah Avalanche Center report pretty much tells the tale.
There was a major change in snow conditions that happened on Wednesday.  Higher density snow fell coupled with strong winds creating an 'upside down' layering situation.  This was capped off with a nice rime event which produced a crust varying in thickness and distribution through the central Wasatch. 
I've heard mixed reports about the quality of the skiing, which perhaps depends on when and where people were skiing.  Conditions likely deteriorated rapidly during the day and may have skied better at the resorts as cut up upside-down powder often skis better than untracked upside-down powder.

Having worked yesterday, we did a late afternoon tour in the Avenues foothills and found the damp powder to be quite pleasing.   Instead of being upside down, the snow was consolidated with a relatively uniform water content, making for fun turns.

Jeff Massey
So, we can add to our weirdness list yesterday afternoon's contrast between upper- and lower-elevation turning conditions.

For those of you from out of town, this will give you an idea of where the Avenues foothills are.  Yes, it is quite a snow year in the lowlands around Salt Lake.

Yours truly enjoys his commute home
Addendum: 12:20 PM

If you have any good photos of rime from this event, I'd be interested in seeing them.  

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