Thursday, January 1, 2015

Inversions, Crazy Cold Temperatures, Pending Pollution, and Other Tidbits

Happy New Year!  Here's a bunch of weather and other tidbits to chew on while you nurse your hangover.

More Crazy PC Temps

We begin with yesterday afternoon's sounding from Riverton in central Wyoming.  Note in particular the extremely shallow nature of the cold airmass, which is capped by an incredibly strong temperature inversion in which temperatures increase from about -24ºC to -8ºC.

Source: SPC
Why do we care about the Riveron sounding?  It's probably more representative than the Salt Lake City sounding of what happened yesterday on the Park City side of the range where that shallow arctic airmass lingered in the lower elevations and produced some really crazy temperatures.  The map below shows yesterday's maximum temperatures and it makes the most sense if you look at it while standing on your head.  Highs at basin/valley stations include 7ºF at Kimball Junction (I80 and SR224), 7ºF at Silver Creek Junction (I80 and US40/SR189), 8ºF at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, 5ºF at Mayflower Summit (US40/SR189), and 9ºF at the base of Deer Valley's Jordanelle Gondola.

Source: MesoWest
Ah, but look up a little higher.  Now some of these temperatures I think are bad - perhaps due to poor aspiration of the sensors due to light winds, a few that look correct include 17ºF at the top of Super Condor Express, 17ºF at the Park City Summit House, and 24ºF at the top of Bald Mountain.  Like I said, some of these might be a little high (the 40 at the top of the King Con chair at PCMR is clearly wrong, which suggests my previous post might have been a bit overenthusiastic), but clearly you can see the presence of a pronounced temperature inversion on top of the cold air that penetrated into northern Utah from Wyoming.

Peter Sinks Gets Really Cold

The Peter Sinks are sinkholes in the Bear River Range east of Logan and are well known for extreme cold temperatures.  Utah's record low temperature of -69.3ºF, which is also the 2nd lowest temperature ever recorded in the continental U.S., was recorded there on 1 February 1985.  Yesterday, instrumentation from Utah State showed a minimum temperature of about -50ºF (special nod to reader Aaron Saks for reminding me to have a look at the sinks).  Note how during the day yesterday, temperatures on the rim (red line) were higher than the previous day, but in the bottom of the sink (blue line), they were colder.

Might the bottom be even colder on the morning of New Years Day?  The live link isn't pulling up the latest, but keep clicking and maybe we'll find out.


We've made it half way through inversion season without many problems, that is changing now.  Snow covered ground, a low-angle sun, and a long-range forecast with a developing ridge mean we're in for problems.

PCTV Interview

A special shout out to everyone at PCTV for inviting me for an interview about Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth yesterday morning.  You can catch it below.

Secrets Status

Demand for Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth has been incredible and it sold out pretty much everywhere before Christmas.  Books are, however, in the supply chain and both Amazon and Barnes and Noble online had copies available as of yesterday (although they were getting snatched up fairly quickly).  If you want one from a local shop, don't despair.  Both Kings English and Weller Book Works have more coming and I suspect the same can be said elsewhere.  Call ahead and reserve one. 

AMS Alumni and Friends Gathering

If you are attending the Annual Conference of the American Meteorological Society next week in Phoenix, please come by our Alumni & Friends reception on Tuesday evening.  Info below.

Whoa...I need a blog vacation.

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