A Science for Everyone, Meteorology

Monitoring Snow- the Easy Way

Times have changed.  In the seventies, I would have been up and out this morning to snowmobile in to Weasel Divide, Stahl Peak, and Grave Creek snow courses, and worked the details out in the evening in a Libby motel room.  Now, I can get the data in my kitchen by clicking a link.

So we’re going into February at 127% of average – 5 ½ inches of water more.  Something interesting happened between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm on January 27 – the snow depth reported went from 187 inches to 75 inches, while the snow water equivalent stayed the same at 27 inches.  This is why we carried so many spare parts on the back of the old Ski-doo Alpines – one ski up front, two tracks behind, and a small pickup bed behind the seat.  Monitoring equipment needs to be monitored.

DateTime PSTSnow Water Equivalent (inches)Snow Depth (inches)Snow Density (%)Precipitation To-Date (inches)Current Temperature (degrees F)
01/28/2022090026.9187.01446.118.0
01/28/2022080026.9187.01446.116.9
01/28/2022070026.9187.01446.212.4
01/28/2022060026.9187.01446.112.4
01/28/2022050026.9187.01446.112.9
01/28/2022040026.9187.01446.113.1
01/28/2022030026.9187.01446.215.4
01/28/2022020026.9187.01446.215.1
01/28/2022010026.9187.01446.213.3
01/28/2022000026.975.03646.214.5
01/27/2022230026.9187.01446.212.7
01/27/2022220026.975.03646.213.5
01/27/2022210026.976.03546.213.6
01/27/2022200026.976.03546.214.0
01/27/2022190026.976.03546.214.2
01/27/2022180026.976.03546.213.8
01/27/2022170027.076.03646.214.4
01/27/2022160027.075.03646.216.7
01/27/2022150027.076.03646.218.1
01/27/2022140027.0187.01446.217.6
01/27/2022130027.0187.01446.221.4
01/27/2022120027.0187.01446.218.1
01/27/2022110026.9187.01446.216.9
01/27/2022100026.9187.01446.2   

So what’s in store?  As the chart below shows, there isn’t enough data yet for projecting seasonal precipitation reliably on the first day of February.  Still, with the normal high around 39 inches on the first of May, we need only10 more inches of water to make it, spread over the next 90 days.

If you want more data relative to the upcoming temperature and precipitation projections, NOAA has the official long-lead forecasts available at:  cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

It looks like our temperatures will be a little below normal for March-April-May, leading to a bit slower snow melt.

The precipitation probability is also above average – so things look good for the Spring.

As I look back, it is easy to see how a career starting in snow surveys provided good experience as I moved into demography.  There really isn’t a lot of difference between projecting snow depth and human populations.

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