Sunday, May 17, 2015

Huge Spring Dump, Avalanches Likely

After depriving us of quality powder for most of the winter, Mother Nature turned on the spigot big time last night.  Automated observations from the Alta-Collins observing station (9662 ft) show the total snow depth increasing from around 64 inches yesterday (multi-hour average) to 80 inches as of 7 am this morning.  I'm calling it a 16 inch storm total, although it looks like 14 inches of that fell after 6 PM yesterday.  Total water during this period was a whopping 2.41 inches.  

Radar images from last night show the remarkably juicy northwesterly flow and how Alta was fortuitously located in the narrowing band as the night dragged on.  

Source: NCAR/RAL
Source: NCAR/RAL
I've looked at some radar loops and there may have been some lake augmentation at times, but the large-scale precipitation band was an important component of this storm (note how it extends well upstream of the lake in the images above).  

The Utah Avalanche Center is closed for the season, but they did issue a tweet overnight highlighting that avalanches are likely, including terrain within closed ski areas, which is de facto backcountry right now.  

As much as I was hoping to get out this morning and followup on yesterday's creamy turns, I'm electing to stay home.  Today is the epitome of too much of a good thing


  1. Amazing amounts of water with this storm with the Ben Lomond Peak snotel station at 8,000 ft reporting over 4.00" water. I would not be surprised at all if there was around 30" of new snow at the top of the actual Ben Lomond Peak with is at 9,700 ft.

  2. You made the right call to stay home, I found it wet and heavy @ 1200