Saturday, March 18, 2017

Poof Goes the Snowpack

It's no surprise that this week's record setting warmth has destroyed the the low-elevation snowpack.  We have precious few low-elevation SNOTEL locations, but the one at Ben Lomond Trail has lost about 4 inches of water equivalent through yesterday and I suspect it will see another couple of inches go away today.  On the plus side, it still sits well above average for this time of year, although it is located in an area that is somewhat shaded from the afternoon sun.

Curiously, some of the upper-elevation SNOTEL sites have shown declines the past couple of days including Brighton and Mill-D.

I haven't been out in the central Wasatch during this warm spell and don't have a good feel for what is happening at those sites.  Although it has been warm, I suspect the snowpack is not ripe yet and that those declines are not necessarily due to melt.  It's possible they are due to sublimation given how hot and dry it has been.  The graphs above don't include today, which is a worst-case scenario for sublimational losses given the extreme warmth and wind.  It may be worth a look tomorrow.

A quick look at the latest observations through 3:55 PM MDT shows we've been flirting with 79ºF at the Salt Lake Airport, but I haven't seen anything pushing 80 in the 5 minute data yet.  We'll see if we can hit the psyche point.


  1. Car themometer registered 81F on I-15/90th So. today at 5pm. Disgusting.

  2. Check out Weber River at Gateway. Now over 2000 cfs. Flirting with records!

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