Monday, March 16, 2015

Cage Match II: Tug Hill Plateau vs. Wasatch Mountains

Last year, after I spent some time enjoying the intense snowstorms of the Tug Hill Plateau, we did a fun comparison of the snowfall climate of that region with the Wasatch Mountains (see Cage Match: Tug Hill Plateau vs. Wasatch Mountains).  I thought we might have a look see at how things are faring this year.

Regular snowfall observations on the Tug Hill Plateau are available from a National Weather Service cooperative observer at a site known as "Hooker" (for reasons I've never understood) on the northern plateau near the village of Copenhagen.  So far this year, Copenhagen has had 259.4 inches of snow, although data for the last 3 days are missing, and they may have added a bit to the total the past couple of days.  

Source: NOAA Regional Climate Centers
A web cam image from my friends at shows a healthy snowpack in nearby Montague.  

Now let's return to Utah.  The cooperative observer at Alta, UT, has reported only 217.8 inches of snow this year (note the scale change), far less than Hooker, although there are some days with missing data.

According to the Utah Avalanche Center, Alta Guard has had 213.5 inches, so something in the lower 200s is pretty reasonable.  The ski area, which I believe measures higher on the mountain, reports 254 inches.  Even if we go with that, my friends on the Tug can rub our noses in it as it appears they are running ahead of Alta.  Yeah, I know the terrain on the Tug is limited for skiing (there are some good turns to be had over 400 vertical feet at Snow Ridge), but this post is more about fun with snow than skiing.  

Update on the Italian Snowfall Record

I am still trying to find an official report regarding the world-record 24-hour snowfall claim in Capracotta, Italy.  Not surprisingly, Google searches turn up tons of news reports with regards to the record.  Everyone loves a good story.  Then I found this report in USA Today that states the following:
Despite gobs of initial media attention, that total may have been wildly inflated. Officially, the town picked up "only" about 3 feet of snow, which was then blown around by strong winds into massive snowdrifts, greatly exaggerating the totals.
Not surprisingly, that story has garnered far less attention.  In the end, I suspect this will go down as as a major snowstorm, but one that falls short of record status, as we discussed a few days ago.  Nevertheless, I look forward to more official analysis of the event just to be sure.      

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