SNOTEL help - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-04-2008   #1
freexbiker's Avatar
B.F.E., Wyoming
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 907

Enlighten me in the use of SNOTEL so I can see what my area is going to be like
I hear about it a lot but I'm not sure what to do on it

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Old 02-04-2008   #2
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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Posts: 4,606
Here's the NOAA map for all gov't weather sites in the NW. It includes casper, but not much south.

National Weather Service - Missoula MT

The Snotel sites are yellow, and they will tell you the snow depth, recent snowfall, snow water equivalent, and temp. Great for tracking what is happening up high.
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Old 02-04-2008   #3
Gallatin Gateway, Montana
Paddling Since: 1996
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Wyoming Snotel

Here is the link to the Wyoming snotel site administered by the NRCS:

If you click on a site you can retrieve detailed information regarding the current snowpack at that site. Please note that they measure snow depth using a pressure transducer below a pillow filled with antifreeze. As a result they are not 100% accurate as different density of snow, ice crusts, etc can radically change the snow depth, but they give a good representation of the regional snow depth and temps. They can be good for comparing one snow year to another.
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Old 02-04-2008   #4
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Here's the Colorado SNOTEL site:

SNOTEL Basin Time Series Snowpack Summary Graphs | Colorado NRCS

What MtDweller said, plus my understanding is that the newest data is provisional and they typically update it with actual snow survey data that's used in high-level water resource planning. Its good for overall trends & getting an idea where we stand roughly.

Go to the homepage and wander around the site to get an idea of individual measurement locations in your favorite watershed, etc.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 02-04-2008   #5
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
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Quick & simple

To check on specific rivers takes some doing, since you have to locate the SNOTEL sites in the headwaters. But clicking around on the state maps will do that. At which point, you have to figure out how to read the SWE (snow water equivalent) graphs. Hint: display them with the longterm averages, for comparison.

Here's a quick and dirty state-by-state basin assessment. Good enough for most purposes.

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Old 02-04-2008   #6
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B.F.E., Wyoming
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 907
Thanks good to know
I found the add on for google earth and that helps alot (and its pretty sick)
cool info
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