Just check out these GEFS forecasts from this morning.
|Penn State E-wall|
I've been in denial about these forecasts for a few days, hoping that we might get something Sunday/Monday for storm chasing and to help the skiing some, but it hit me today that we could be hosed big time.
Let's put the situation into historical perspective. Records for the Snowbird SNOTEL cover 29 years. Time series of snowpack water equivalent from 1 October to 1 February are provided below. We currently sit at 3.1 inches, which I've circled below. There are only 2 water years with less snow, 2000 and 2010.
That wouldn't be cause for panic, but that block scares the bejesus out of me. I stuck an arrow for the future on the graph, assuming we get perhaps 0.5" of water out of the Sunday/Monday storm (it could be more or less, but I lean toward less). We would go through the first week of December near the lowest snowpack in that 29 years. If instead we hold at the current snowpack, 3.1 inches would match the low for Dec 10 set in 2010.
Although there is some uncertainty in the SNOTEL data, we're near the bottom of the barrel. Note that the SNOTEL records don't go back to 1976/77, better known as the "drought year", when only 13.5" fell in November and 17" in December at Alta. That year may have been worse.
Bottom line: Burn skis, sacrifice a goat, or whatever else you can think of to conjure snow up Sunday/Monday. We could be facing a really ugly start to December.
About the only thing that keeps me going in times like these are thoughts of the 100 inch storm in November 2001. We'll need it if this continues.