Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pound for Pound the Snowiest Place in Utah

What is the snowiest place in Utah right now?

I'll give you a hint.  It's neither Alta nor Snowbird.

Nor is it anywhere in the central Wasatch (and this is not fake news!).

It's Ben Lomond Peak, just to the northeast of Ogden.  In fact, for a given elevation, the area around Ben Lomond Peak and the north Ogden Valley is the snowiest place in the state at present and climatologically.

Source: Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth
Let me share with you some crazy numbers to illustrate just how snowy it is in that area this year.  At noon MST today in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the Alta-Collins (9622 ft) snow depth was 120 inches.  The nearby Snowbird SNOTEL (9144 ft) had a snowpack snow water equivalent of 32.8 inches.

Impressive, but let's look at the real king of Utah snow.  At the Ben Lomond Trail SNOTEL, at a lowly elevation of 5829 ft, more than 3000 feet lower than Alta-Collins and the Snowbird SNOTEL, the snow depth at noon MST today was 99 inches (it was over 100 earlier!).  That's right.  99 inches of snow at under 6000 feet elevation.   The snowpack snow water equivalent was 25.4 inches.

Now let's go a little higher, to the Ben Lomond Peak SNOTEL at 8000 ft where the snow depth at noon today was 170 inches (Correction: There is a problem with the Ben Lomond Snow Depth - it anomalously jumped from 134 to 170 today - see comments below), with a snowpack water equivalent of 44 inches.  Those numbers dwarf Alta-Collins and the Snowbird SNOTEL.

So sorry Altaholics.  Get off your high horse as you aren't even close to the snowiest spot in Utah at present.

Although this year Ben Lomond is doing especially well, if one looks at long-term averages and uses a boxing analogy, it is pound for pound the snowiest place in Utah.  For its elevation, it's the snowiest place in Utah.

7 comments:

  1. 170" is suspect. yesterday at Ben Lomond peak in one hour went from 134 to 170, with no change in SWE. Love from Huntsville

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    1. Ah yes, thanks for pointing that out. I've been in Seattle for too long!

      At least the 130 is still greater than the Alta-Collins depth.

      Jim

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  2. Any thoughts on what the flood risks might be when all this snow melts in spring?

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    1. Far too early in the snow accumulation season to make any reliable guesses as to what might happen. Further, a deep snowpack at this stage is no guarantee of major flooding issues in the spring. Much depends on how things evolve the rest of the winter and the weather in the spring.

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  3. I have asked "those who know" about the 169 - 170 inch readings at Ben Lomond Peak and the thought is some sort of sensor riming. Which makes me wonder what happens if we get another 40 inches of snow - far from impossible. We at over 200 % of median and average. Buy a boat?

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  4. I have asked "those who know" about the 169 - 170 inch readings at Ben Lomond Peak and the thought is some sort of sensor riming. Which makes me wonder what happens if we get another 40 inches of snow - far from impossible. We at over 200 % of median and average. Buy a boat?

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    1. if you live close to the lake or in the "flood plain" I'd say yes! lol just pray we have a slow warm up to spring not a 60* February

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