Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Slow Snow Start Across the West

It's been a while since I took a broader look at the state of the snow across the west so I thought I'd have a look today.

Based on snowpack snow-water equivalent, things are fairly grim across much of the west including Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.  The northwest interior fares a bit better, with some mountain basins sitting closer to average.  Relative to average, the healthiest snowpacks are in western Wyoming.  The "beefiest" snowpack relative to climatology is in the Albion Mountains of southeast Idaho.  Pomerelle ski area is there, but even at 145% of average, they are only reporting a 27-33" base.

Source NRCS
Another perspective is provided by automated snow-depth sensors.  If you are looking for 3 feet or greater, look for upright green, blue, or purple triangles (see scale at lower left).  If you look hard, you can find a few of the green ones (37–48 inches) in the North Cascades and Northern Rockies.  There looks to be one in the Park Range of Colorado too.  

Source NRCS
There are no SNOTELs in the southern Sierra, but Mammoth is reporting a 24-36 inch base this morning.

Things are most grim in the Pacific Northwest.  Here's a shot from Snoqualmie Pass this morning.

Near as I can tell, none of the Washington ski areas are open, including Mt. Baker.  Their most recent report is below and is one of the gnarliest I think I've seen.  10 inches of rain, 104 mph winds, and "on the positive side...we haven't lost any ski runs or had any damage any where in the area."  

Meanwhile, we can be grateful for the 4" of snow that fell overnight at Alta and whatever we get from the lingering snow showers today.  

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