Monday, December 22, 2014

Mother Nature Goes Into Beast Mode

There was a moment yesterday morning when snow levels were still near 7000 feet, snow was falling with a water content of 10% or so, and pictures were rolling in on my twitter feed showing some decent turns that I thought perhaps this storm won't be as bad as I thought.

And then Mother Nature invoked Marshawn Lynch and went into Beast Mode.

Ridge top winds started to gust over 90 miles per hour (see above), mid-elevation temperatures climbed, snow levels rose, and the snow or whatever the hell was falling at that point became thicker than Cascade Concrete.  I would call it the Nightmare Before Christmas except for one thing.


Wow, what a storm.  We are currently up to a storm total of almost 3.5 inches of water at both Alta-Collins and our new observing system in upper Albion Basin.  Precipitation observations in snow are notoriously bad when it is windy, so frankly I find it quite remarkable how close these two are and that they seem fairly reasonable relative to water contents reported by the Utah Avalanche Center.

During one period overnight, Alta had 6 inches of snow, which doesn't sound like much, but it had a 20% water content.  That's about as thick as it gets and it will be a good base builder.  However, temperatures are now falling, so we'll see a transition to lighter snow today and snow levels are now approaching bench level.

There were some big water numbers at some other locations in the Wasatch.  Ben Lomond Peak, for example, is now over 4 inches.  I suspect snowfall in that area, at least below 8000 feet and possibly higher, was reduced somewhat by the high snow levels late yesterday and in the early overnight hours.

I noticed a few resorts are reporting delayed openings.  Mother Nature is still in Beast Mode.  Check before you go.

Looking for a Stocking Stuffer?  
Demand for Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth has been amazing!  If you are looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer, Barnes and Noble currently has them in stock (as of Monday morning) at their Sugarhouse and Gateway Crossing (Bountiful) stores, but call ahead and put it on reserve to be sure.  Weller Book Works had stock the last I checked, but call ahead.  Kings English had a new shipment coming, so similarly, call ahead.  There's also Amazon and direct from Utah State Press, although delivery by Christmas might cost you a pretty penny.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the Sierra. Your description is typical of a Mammoth storm: very high winds, average water content ~13% and yes it can get to 20% sometimes. Not to mention the delayed openings afterwards.