New Snow Record?
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Have we broken any snow depth records this year? To answer that question, I plotted March 1st snow depths over the last 20 winters.
Unfortunately, low elevation snow depth numbers are scarce so I used data from the Wolf Creek Summit SNOTEL site. The amount of snow in the mountains can approximate the type of winter we experience in town, except sometimes it rains in town when it snows in the mountains (like it did this year). And, low elevation snowpack often melts in between storms, whereas temperatures on Wolf Creek Pass are likely to preserve the snowpack until April. Nonetheless, this graph can be used to infer the general snow conditions in town over the past 20 years.
The graph shows March 1st values rather than the season max. The maximum amount ever recorded at the site was 137 inches on 3/26/05. The second highest value was 136 inches on 2/5/08. So 2019 will most likely rank as the 3rd deepest snowpack in the last 20 years! Unfortunately, snow depth measurements were not reported at this site until 1998.
Currently, I have 53 inches of snow on the ground at my house, which sits at 7,800 feet near Lake Hatcher.
Currently, Wolf Creek Ski Area is reporting 148 inches of snow at the summit and 137 inches midway. So far they've received 348 inches this season.
1979 was probably the best year in recent history. Friends of mine claim that the ski area received over 800 inches of snow that winter. Unfortunately, I do not have access to that data, and snow depth was not recorded at the Wolf Creek Summit SNOTEL station. However, the max snow water equivalent for 1979 is the highest for the period of record, which dates back to 1936. Other noteworthy years are 1941, 1944, 1952, 1965, and 1985.
Worried about where you're going to put any additional snow that falls in March? Next time I'll discuss how much snow March historically brings. I'm sure the the results will surprise you as much as they did me! Meanwhile, I have to go shovel my roof!