Monday, March 06, 2017

Utah Snowpack 2017

USDA NRCS Snotel (snow telemetry) provides selected monitoring sites throughout Utah and the western US.  This particular graphic characterizes the snow accumulation at Timpanogos Divide monitoring site.

Another graph illustrating SWE and Precip at Daniels-Strawberry monitoring station, 2017-to-date compared with 2016 data.  Note the dramatic contrast, more than 100% difference.

Another graph showing accumulation data from Ben Lomond Peak north of Ogden.  Again comparing the current and previous year.  If you note, for this location the scale is staggering.

Lines showing what seems to be "normal" or "average" are nothing of the sort.  Rather, they plot the data accumulation over a selected range of past history.  For weather patterns, there really seems to be no such thing as "normal".  Or perhaps more accurately, if you need to see what is "normal" today, stick your head out the window and check.

In any case, the accumulated total precip and snow water equivalent are trending rather high compared to past weather data.  Some would even say it is not too early to start planning for catastrophic flooding when the weather turns hot.  Many of Utah's reservoirs, which also serve as flood control resources, are already filled over nominal capacity.

So get ready for an interesting and lively spring season.  Our problems in Utah will be nothing compared to the potential wave of disaster that threatens to crest over California.

This graph plots snow accumulation data from near Mammoth Lakes in California.  Comparing current and last year.

Wow.  Oh, wow!  Are you California guys STILL complaining of drought?

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