Salt Snowpack? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
 
SLC, Utah
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Salt Snowpack?

How's the snow pack? Any opinions as to whether it will flow nice this year?

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Snowpack for the basin is around 75% of average. Unless things change I would predict a short season with a peak around or less than 2k. One or two big storms could change that at any point though, as could a rain on snow event.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
 
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It is definitely looking a bit meager this year compared to the last few...but as lmyers said, that can change pretty quickly with a few big storms.

Looks like there is a winter storm advisory on for the next few days...and we'll see what comes after that. I might hit it early season if it comes up...crossing my fingers for some big storms (maybe not as big as last year though...it got a bit floody last year).
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
 
Phoenix, Arizona
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Big storm rolling through tonight. expecting up to a foot in the high country in the Salt River Basin!

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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
 
Bayfield, Colorado
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Hannigan meadows has gone from 9.1 SWE to 10.6 SWE in the last 3 days. No storms down there that I can see. Local dump? Blowing snow? WTF???
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
 
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As of today the snowpack at Hannigan meadow looks better than last year which turned out to be a fantastic year. 2/16/2019 SWE was at 7.8. This year it is at 10.4. Watch those late Feb March storms and make plans accordingly. Have a 3/22 permit. Looks perfect!!!!!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesthomas View Post
Hannigan meadows has gone from 9.1 SWE to 10.6 SWE in the last 3 days. No storms down there that I can see. Local dump? Blowing snow? WTF???
I'm far from an expert...but I think it has something to do with the snow becoming denser as it packs down, melts and recrystalizes.

About this time last year some huge storms started to rolled through and eventually brought the SWE up to into 14" range. No weather forecast indications of major precipitation anytime soon but that can change kinda quickly. Forecasted to be pretty cold for a while...so could be a late start to the season. Really hard to tell...its gonna take some warm temps and/or a big rain storm to kick the season off.

One of the factors that plays into things is the ground water saturation level. Right now there is snow of the ground but not much of it has soaked in. For water to travel down off the hills, first you have to saturate it enough where it doesn't want to soak in anymore and flows downhill into streams. Last year, the big storms saturated the ground thoroughly so most of the snow melt flushed into the rivers. This year, unless another big storm comes and soaks the area, its gonna be a slow burn at first.

So yeah...its looking good snow pack wise...but there are other factors in play. There will be a season....but when it starts and how big it gets is not super clear.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric-Mayhem View Post
One of the factors that plays into things is the ground water saturation level. Right now there is snow of the ground but not much of it has soaked in. For water to travel down off the hills, first you have to saturate it enough where it doesn't want to soak in anymore and flows downhill into streams. Last year, the big storms saturated the ground thoroughly so most of the snow melt flushed into the rivers. This year, unless another big storm comes and soaks the area, its gonna be a slow burn at first.

You could assume as much based on the way runoff in the Rockies occurs, but in the Salt Basin it seems to be a pretty regular event to get rain on frozen ground. That's when you see flows go to 10k overnight like it did 3 times last season, and it blows out the snowpack fairly quickly.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
 
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FOCO, Colorado
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SO I know thereís is no way to know, but from you folks that monitor the SAlt snowpack, hat is everyoneís best guess on decent water second week of April? From what Iím reading a late snow storm or heavy rain event can dramatically change projections, so is this one of those snowpacks thatís just a lets wait and see?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
 
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Golden, Colorado
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I gave a talk the other night with Joel Gratz. He does what is called Opensnow.com and makes a living keeping an eye on snow relative to skiing.

He had a very interesting slide showing that in recent years low elevation SNOTEL sites are trending below average while high elevation SNOTEL sites are doing much better. Something perhaps called Climate Change. If you look at the Salt SNOTEL sites that is true. The higher sites are at or above average SWE such as Hannagan Meadows, Baldy and Maverick Fork and the lower sites are pulling down the basin average.

Salt SNOTEL precip is at average and the river flow has been near average suggesting good soil saturation maybe. The morning flow reports posted here on MB show that this has been true and very steady for the last two weeks.

The NOAA 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks look good for cooler temps to preserve snowpack and near average precip and potentially significantly above average chance of precip in the 6-10 day outlook.

Joel had another very informative slide, showing that forecasting beyond the about 10 to 14 day window tends to be as wrong as it is right.

But I've given up trying to over think the Salt. One flap of a butterfly wing, as they say, in the South Pacific can change it all. I was very surprised last year for example based on mid-snowpack-season conditions and Salt SWE on average doesn't even peak until the first week of March so let us all continue to think positive.
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