Friday, November 24, 2017

Weather and Ski Tidbits for Thanksgiving Weekend

The weather this Thanksgiving weekend has been and will be completely outrageous based on climatological standards.

The mean temperature at the Salt Lake City Airport on Wednesday and Thursday was 55.8ºF.  If that number holds for through Sunday, it would be more than 5ºF warmer than any Nov 22–26 period on record.  

Source: NOAA Regional Climate Centers
With three days to go, you could say I'm cherry picking, but the low last night was about 44 (won't know officially until 11 AM), the National Weather Service forecast high for today is 60, and the numbers for Saturday and Sunday are 40/63 and 44/67.  Those would give an average temperature for the period of 54.1, still blowing away any comparable period on record and likely representing the warmest Thanksgiving in Salt Lake history (I haven't bothered doing calculations for the variable thanksgiving dates, so that's really only a guess). 

With this recent string of warm weather, I thought we might be back on pace for hottest year on record, but we still lag behind 2015, 2016, and 2012.  

Source: NOAA Regional Climate Centers
After the big storm last week, I believe it's been a net loss of snowpack in the mountains on all aspects below 8500 feet and those facing south or west even above that altitude. 

I've always wondered what the worst possible conditions that a ski area would operate under are in Utah and Snowbird may be setting the mark this weekend [Addendum at 4:50 PM Friday 24 Nov: Snowbird has suspended skiing operations until cold weather returns].  I've always considered Big Emma, even when covered adequately with snow, tho be the most terrifying run at Snowbird due to its frequently icy conditions and the density and diversity of skiers.  I'd rather ski Pipeline any day of the week.  Yesterday, it must have been truly terrifying with a narrow white ribbon of death bisecting it.  

Thankfully, Alta showed constraint and even opened for uphill skiing.  

We did a quick ascent to burn off calories for Thanksgiving turkey.  

The snowpack is thin, but solid.  They had groomed from a bit below the angle station down through corkscrew.

For the most part, it was bone rattlers rather than chin ticklers, but it was skiing.  Those going up after us would probably have gotten some softening corn.  

Our next hope for snow is Monday and Monday night.  Still seeing a lot of spread in the NAEFS ensemble.  

We need a storm not just for skiing, but also for our storm-chasing efforts with the Doppler on Wheels.  Please come through Mother Nature!

1 comment:

  1. After Monday's storm/showers, any possibility of a pattern change late next week? Thanks Jim for all of your reports (I follow them religiously). Keeping the faith right now that we soon are going to have too much snow than we know what to do with.