Western Weather 2017-18 and Later

Long term average snowfall by month?
Very even in Utah, Colorado and the Alps.
Nov-Jan higher than later months in western Canada
Dec-Jan higher than other months in PacNW and US northern Rockies
Jan-Feb higher than other months in California.
Thanks. That sums it up. I expected PNW to be weighted toward December/January but didn't have any real idea about the other areas.
Japan is very different. Two thirds of season snowfall occurs in December and January. Not that much falls in November so December is needed to build the base.
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The El Nino hype machine is already revved up in the MSM. Spring is the time of year when El Nino or La Nina tends to break up, and that is definitely true for the La Nina that lasted a very unusual 34 months through this February.

El Nino/La Nina predictions made in the spring for the following winter do not have a good record for accuracy. However, the unusual length of the recent La Nina is very likely to result in a strong reaction the other direction according to Larry Schick. So this time the El Nino prediction is more likely to be accurate. However, the last El Nino in 2015-16 was a bust in terms of weather prediction. The recent 2022-23 season was an aberrant La Nina as well, probably the lowest snowfall La Nina ever in western Canada at about 90% of normal. 2022-23 had also by far the highest La Nina snowfall in SoCal and Arizona.
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Four (or five if you count Alpine separately from Palisades since Base-to-Base gondola is not running) ski areas open in CA for Memorial Day weekend. Palisades will close for season after Monday as Funitel is getting a new haul cable and tram will be down for maintenance.

Alpine will only be open Fri-Sun in June plus July 1 to 4 which means I would have to make it to Mammoth if I want lift-served in June. My incomplete history shows my only June skiing was hiking with our two dogs in Carson Pass in 2011. I've gotten close to June; skiing Mammoth on May 31, 2010 and July 1-3, 2019, and Palisades last year on May 30.

The others open this weekend include:
Dodge Ridge, re-opened for Sat and Sun with 5 runs on chair 5 from 8-2 after closing May 7.
Donner Ski Ranch posted on Facebook they are open 8-2 from Sat to Mon. No details on website.
Mammoth is running a lot, but with Sonora and Tioga Passes not close to opening, it's a long drive that includes almost 1/2 mile of one lane road with signal going past Topaz Lake. Monitor Pass is open and avoids that closure, but it means missing less NV expensive fuel and does not save much if any time.
With work and family obligations, I was most likely to get late season skiing at Mammoth over Memorial Day and the occasional July 4 holiday weekends. Only after divorce and retirement am I getting more skiing in June than July. With Liz' ongoing recovery I expect to ski more in July than June this season. But progress is good. She walked around our block (.8 mile) today with a walker.

Mammoth has as many lifts open as I've ever seen for Memorial Day and 77% of terrain by trail count on the snow report. Hopefully we'll get reviews from ChrisC and Patrick.

Snowbird is clearly skiable top to bottom with the Peruvian chair running this weekend. But after May 29 Snowbird will close for tram maintenance until the weekend of June 17-18, with further weekends TBD.

Today I finally got around to the 2022-23 Season Analysis, which is also now featured on the FTO home page.
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Good to hear that Liz’s knee surgery was a success. Wish her the best from my family please.

Very interesting season numbers. I didn’t know Canada had such a lean season for a La Niña period.
I didn’t know Canada had such a lean season for a La Niña period.
Possibly unprecedented. Lowest prior snowfall La Nina of moderate or higher strength in western Canada was 95% two years ago. I don't have a final number for this season as I'm still waiting on a couple of areas. I do the analysis report in May once I have a good sample size within each region.
Hey, it's almost a pow day for the racer chasers at Copper today. June snow being fairly common in central mtns of Colo, though not huge amounts and not every single year.

Copper snow stake.JPG

Race training must continue! Just like all other sports now-a days, there is really no break for committed athletes.
Copper racers.JPG

I asume park & pipe athletes are still sleeping in and will get around to showing up maybe by late am. Very different than racers who will be finishing up about when park rats show up.
Copper terrain park.JPG
No surprise about this.
Yes this will indeed be a great whitewater rafting season in the Sierra. That's commercial rafting not amateur hour though. I would have signed up for something already, but that will be put off until Liz is ready. But some dammed rivers like the lower Kern will still have good whitewater in September/October this year.
That's funny about the SV ad, and I totally get it. The gray is reason the wife and I didn't stay in either Leavenworth, WA or NW Montana. Just horrible inversions. I actually got more claustrophobic than depressed when it's like that. While in WA, we drove to Boise for a long weekend just to get some sun.

Thankfully, where I live now (Near McCall) is just far enough south to not get the weeks on end of gray. Typically, 45* N is about the latitude you want to stay south of for more sun. In fact, I actually live right on that line, there is a sign for it at the bottom of my neighborhood along the highway.
SoCal has an occasional weather pattern of "Gray May/ June Gloom," which is a mild variant of the dominant April-July fog climate of SF and the central coast of California. L.A. climate stats say downtown L.A. has year round average of 77% sun. May is the average cloudiest month at 64% sun, which I'm sure is a laughable number to PNW residents. This weather pattern rarely persists through the entire day more than a couple of miles from the coast.

I have had solar panels since July 2009 and average 82% of maximum possible since then. The lowest production months over that time are December at 75% and May at 77% (August at 89% is maximum). The lowest single month production of my solar panels was 61% in May 2019. We have just experienced the most extreme Gray May/June Gloom stretch in a long time, though my impression is that they were more common when I was growing up here in the 1960's. For the 25 days from May 23 - June 16 the solar panels produced 39% of maximum. 16 of those 25 days the sun never came out all day.
In a similar vein to the gloom in Cali, it's been an incredibly cool and rainy May/June in the front range of Colo (not super snowy in the mtns, but slow snowmelt for sure). Not sure why Abasin decided to close when it did on first Sunday in June. They could have easily made minimum of one more week and probably two more weeks. They would have even had a bit of new snow on the final weekend if they had stayed open 2 more weeks.

June 16th mtn snows:
twitter Berthoud pics

Struggle to hit 80F in Denver in June:
17days of no 80F

Colo snowpack melt out slower than average:
Both slightly above average winter and cool spring

San Juans still very snowy in SW colo:
Backcountry skiing probably good
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To confirm the Colorado weather:

Telluride's 50th Annual Bluegrass Festival was this past weekend: 4 days Thu-Sun. It's a huge festival with 12k attendees (town pop 2.5 k) ... and everyone from Dixie Chicks, TENACIOUS D, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, John Fogerty, String Cheese Incident, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, John Prine, to Mumford & Sons has played it.

However, thunderstorms on Friday afternoon/evening required the festival grounds to be evacuated twice. The second round of thunderstorms even deposited snow down to the valley floor in June. As you can see from the photos below, tarps (how one claims space)/camps looked lovely afterward:



Returning to tarp/camp

The Great White Wolf does not care...more waterfalls and mud to play in - Bridal Veil Falls, Box Canyon Telluride.
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My impression is that afternoon thunderstorms in the Colorado mountains are almost routine in summer. Were the interrupted acts able to perform later as at Cruel World in Pasadena on May 21?
My impression is that afternoon thunderstorms in the Colorado mountains are almost routine in summer.

Generally, the SW Monsoon flow does not start in earnest until August 1st. June is still early for the afternoon thunderstorms.
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My impression is that afternoon thunderstorms in the Colorado mountains are almost routine in summer.
Yep for decent chunks of the summer they are. This year has been far from normal though. Lots of general spring rain storms, immediately followed by a 3 week period of moisture flowing straight from the gulf up through Texas and westward into the Eastern Colo/front range. Lots of all day or even multi-day soaking downpours. Multiple 'wash-out' weekends with small stream flooding, very humid, wet and feeling very much like the East coast.

Last night was another nutty night of very heavy storms going all through last night (got woken up at 4a by thunder, which normally never happens as storms usually die down by late evening at the very latest).

As of the moment, May was 4th wettest in the record books and June is already the wettest ever recorded. Official airport records have us rapidly approaching normal annual precipitation. YTD >13.5", annual average 14.3" out at the airport (more like ~17" average at my house). Hail has also been very frequent. Some spots in the area are running roughly double normal precip YTD.

The bad news is today could be very similar to yesterday's huge storms, the good news is that the pattern is forecast to change to more normal starting on Friday...

Normal is small storms develop and kick off the mtns by ~1-2p rain a tenth or quarter inch in random spots for the day then back to sunshine by ~5-6p.
Multiple 'wash-out' weekends with small stream flooding, very humid, wet and feeling very much like the East coast.
This is the second year in a row that the East Coast seems to have exchanged its usual summer climate for that of Colorado. Just like 2022, May and June have been for the most part dry as a bone, both precip and air humidity, as was borne out by the fire-smoke disaster of two weeks ago.
Just like 2022, May and June have been for the most part dry as a bone, both precip and air humidity
Don't worry, I'm heading back east in July so that'll change in just a few weeks :bow:

tiny creek a few hundred yards from the house

Minor stuff, but certainly a bit unusual for 'high desert' Denver/Boulder metro.

Occasionally nice sunsets with all the clouds though.

Lots and LOTS of this included free of charge

large swaths of metro have had inches of hail at times, but this was about our max so far (crosses fingers).

I should upload the video of this... this is where gutter gets tubed underneath the back patio. It couldn't keep up with the volume, so water is simply flying out of the tube where it meets the downspout and gushing out across the patio instead.