Saturday, April 21, 2018

Peak Snowpack, Emerging Snirt

Based on the forecasts I'm seeing right now, there's a pretty good chance we're at at the apex of the seasonal upper-elevation snowpack right now.

The latest from the Snowbird SNOTEL shows a snowpack water equivalent of 30.1 inches (green line), which is 71% of median for the date and 70% of the peak median.  Those are close because the average time of peak median snowpack is about right now. 

Forecasts for the next 10 days show loaded dice for warm, dry conditions.  You know, the stuff we can't seem to shake.  There's always hope that a weak system or two can generate something, or that the forecasts are simply wrong, but the 6-10 day outlook is pretty telling. 

Thanks to the dust storm earlier this week, snirt is emerging pretty quickly and was visible in many areas this morning.  The photo below is of Lake Peak in upper White Pine. 

The dust is co-mingled with the melt-freeze crust that developed prior to the Tax Day snowfall. 

Sadly, wind and warmth are quickly laying waste to that snowfall and dust is emerging on the top of the snowpack.  This is the basic problem with dust.  The storms are most prevalent in spring, they put dust near the surface of the snow, and it quickly emerges once the snow starts to melt.  In this instance, most of the dust is from a local source in the Cedar Valley west of Utah Lake, although there may have been some more remote sources, such as the Sevier lake bed, contributing later in the day on Monday. 

Turns?  I'm not sure what to call the conditions above 10,000 feet.  Settled powder if generous.  It didn't ski too bad above that level. 

Our future is quite clear in the photo below.  Look how dark that dust is!  It's going to be really really ugly in a few days. 

My advice: Ski this weekend if you can.  After that, it's going to be Snirty Dancing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment