According to hydrologist Brian Mcinerney at the National Weather Service in Salt Lake, the current snow water equivalent (liquid content in the snow) in the Cottonwoods is at 49 percent of average, where further north towards Logan the snow water equivalent currently sits at 71 percent of average. Early season dumps brought more snow to Beaver Mountain (northern Utah) than the Cottonwoods, primarily in November and early December. In central and southern Utah the snow water equivalent is only 20-30 percent of average. Each additional day without snow will draw these percentages even lower, reports TGR.
“It’s one of the worst winters on record for Utah” according to Mcinerney, “if not in 50 years.”
If you look at the record books 2017-2018 might not be as bad as some others, however, in a few weeks, those statistics may go by the wayside if Utah does not get some big snow soon. Models are showing some light or moderate snow possible in Utah mid this week and again late week. The long-term weather models are a bit more optimistic for the end of the month.
According to the National Weather Service in Salt Lake “There is less than a 10 percent chance of catching up” to normal this season.
If there is any good news here, it is that many mountains in Utah got salvaged with a storm just prior to Christmas and again a few weeks ago bringing decent conditions to most of the upper elevations of Park City and areas north towards Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. The Cottonwoods have done better at higher elevations, especially Alta early season where they managed to open up a good amount of terrain as previously mentioned.
Looking optimistically, we know it’s going to snow again! On the pessimistic side, when I asked the hydrologists from NOAA in Salt Lake about the future of skiing, the response is, “by 2035-2065 we may see 50 percent less snow cover in the west and by 2100 we may be seeing all rain.”