Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Utarado Snowpack Comparo

In a bad year like this, I sometimes feel jealous of my friends to the east in Colorado as I hear they are having a good year, and then I look at the data and I don't feel so bad.

Below is a comparison of the  year-to-date long-term median and 2015 snowpack snow-water equivalent (SWE) at Snowbird and selected SNOTEL stations in Colorado.  Snowbird is on the left after which they are ordered in terms of descending median snowpack SWE.  I have included some of the snowier SNOTELs in Colorado along with a few from selected locations near major resorts.

You can see why I jokingly say that a bad year in Utah is better than a good year in Colorado (or, more correctly, a bad year in Little Cottonwood is better than a good year at the resorts near and along I-70).  Although we are running well behind median at the Snowbird SNOTEL, we are still ahead of the SNOTELs near and along I-70 (Loveland Basin, Vail Mountain, Berthoud Summit, Copper Mountain, Beaver Creek Village), despite the fact that the latter are running near median.

Of course, one can see from this chart that there are some areas in Colorado that do get some decent amounts of snow climatologically (see the median bars, red).  One area is in the Park Range and Zirkel Mountains north of Steamboat Springs (i.e., the Tower and Zirkel SNOTEL stations).  Tower in particular, located at Buffalo Pass, always generates some big numbers and I've often thought of visiting the area just to check it out for confirmation purposes.  There are also the usual suspects in favored areas of the San Juan Mountains (Wolf Creek Summit, Cumbres Trestle), as well as Schofield Pass in the Elk Mountains.  The San Juans and Elks are running farther below average, but will do some catching up over the next few days.  In fact, depending on how things play out the next few days, my friends in Colorado may be asking for an update of this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment