The summer solstice is now in the rear-view mirror and we are heading into the heart of the summer season. Our deep snowpack and cool spring has allowed Snowbird to continue operations deep into June. No real insights yet into the upcoming winter...
Short Term Forecast
The days are officially getting shorter now! For me, that's always the first big hurdle to clear in the long journey back to winter. Of course, that doesn't mean we are thru with summer heat -- quite the opposite in fact. This year, we still haven't even experienced true summer heat in Utah. SLC has thus far failed to reach 90F (as of June 24th). It's been 20+ years since we've gone this far into summer without a 90+ reading at the airport. Our daily maximums so far this month have been about 1.5 degrees cooler than normal. We are also coming off the 2nd wettest spring in SLC history! This combination of factors, as well as a very healthy winter snowpack, has allowed Snowbird to remain open thru this past weekend. I skied on Sunday and Mineral and Little Cloud bowl were still great! I'd be surprised if they weren't able to keep at least Little Cloud open thru this weekend.
Speaking of Snowbird, let's look at their snowpack:
You can see a precipitous drop (blue line) over the past few weeks. We are holding onto the snow better than 2017, but are trailing the epic 2011 year. This snotel site should zero out in the next few days. However, that doesn't mean there still isn't snow. There is plenty of snow on the upper mountain. This snotel station is closer to mid-mountain and is in a sun-exposed area. North-facing slopes are holding snow very well!
I don't pay too much attention to short-term forecasts in the summer, but I do see that it is going to be heating up again this week and we will likely finally hit that 90F mark in SLC either today or tomorrow. We should make it to the end of June without any major heatwaves, however, which is nice. July will likely be another story -- as our daily average max temps continue to climb until the end of the month. That's the biggest hurdle to clear. After the first week of August, temps begin to cool and we really can get excited about winter returning.
As for a winter forecast....? LOL. No clue. As I've always stated, Utah doesn't correlate well to teleconnections or oceanic signals. Your guess is as good as mine. The last 2 really good winters we've had, 2010-11 and 2016-17, were followed by drier years. Let's hope we can buck that trend!
I'll update again in a few weeks. Until then, enjoy your summer activities/travels.
Evan | OpenSnow
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