With April Fools Day tomorrow and a crazy month of weather behind us, today brings a fitting "Bizzaro World" end to the month of March.
First, let's recap. It has been simultaneously hotter than hell and anomalously wet this month. We set five daily records for maximum temperature over a 7-day span from the 15th to the 21st, including a 79 on the 18th, dashing hopes of powder skiing over the U's Spring Break. For all but today, the average temperature for the month is 50.2ºF, a full half degree warmer than the previous warmest March on record from 2015. Although today will likely lower that 50.2ºF just a titch, a half degree gap is sufficient that this March will go down as the warmest on record.
But it's also been quite wet, at least at the Salt Lake City Airport. Right now, 2017 rates as the 9th wettest march on record with 3.51 inches. We may add a bit more to that today. A record is out of reach, however, as 1891 saw a whopping 4.66 inches.
For the snow, March has proven to be a stinker. At lower elevations, it's been a disaster. For example, the Ben Lomond Trail SNOTEL (6000 feet) was well above average snowpack water equivalent at the beginning of the month, but has now lost nearly half of its snowpack and now sits at average. In a typical year, they would peak in late March and lose snow in earnest in April.
Surely there was a problem with the morning sounding from the airport. Near saturated conditions from the surface to 500 mb is one thing, but the flow aloft is easterly!
Finally, to wrap up the Bizzaroness, we got about 7 inches of snow at upper elevations in the Cottonwoods over the past 24 hours. My take is that such a storm puts us precisely half way between mid-winter powder skiing and spring corn skiing. Hopefully you can figure out what that means.
UTopia is a new local environmental TV series debuting on KJZZ (channel 14) at 8:30 PM this Sunday (April 2nd). Their first topic: The Greatest Snow on Earth. Here's a clip.