Utah Weather Update

April 14-16, 2015

The afternoon of April 14 we had a cold front move through the state and generate some pretty crazy weather.  Dust from the many large dry lake beds was whipped up in the winds which gusted to 90 mph in some of the canyons.  Because of the crappy air quality in the winter we have air quality sensors around the state and the one in SLC spiked to almost 300 micrograms per m^3.  This is described as “Hazardous” by the EPA, or in other words: “This would trigger health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population will most likely be affected.”.  Luckily this warning is based on a 24 hour average and the spike was only a few hours long, but it was impossible to see the mountains or more than about 1/2 mile.

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Particulate matter (dust) in the air before the cold front moved through.  During the worst inversions we get about half of this value.

 

 

After the front the temperature dropped, precipitously about 20+ degrees in 10 minutes and continued to fall after that as it began to snow.  Keep in mind the max temp at the SLC airport was 75 degrees on April 14.

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My backyard at about 7:00 am on April 15.  I think this was the most accumulation we had all winter in the valley.

 

So what does one do when it snows in Utah?  Go skiing of course!

Skied this morning at the Bird.  Conditions were…awesome compared to a normal East Coast winter…good compared to a normal Utah winter…very good for this Utah winter.  I did get 1.5 clean shots into Mineral Basin as the roped dropped.  Best turns all year for sure.  Last night after work was apparently the holy grail as we had some wind overnight and today adversely affecting the snow.  The guys that dusk patrolled last night said it was the deepest they’d ever skied and they are not fresh off the bunny slope types.  All said and done:  Snowbird 45″ and Brighton 22″.  Solitude, Canyons, PCMR, Deer Valley, Snow Basin all already closed for the season so who cares?  They did get much less due to the magic vortex of snow generation that is Little Cottonwood Canyon.

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This is what happens to people in Utah on a weekday after a big storm during still the lowest snow total year on record in the Wasatch.

 

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Its a shame Road to Provo (terrain below the rocky peak) wasn’t open. It doesn’t matter any more though as you’ll see.

 

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Mineral Basin did open and I was fortunate enough to hit it. After all the riff-raff snowboarders got swamped in the massive drifts along the untouched traverse it was me and and 14 other skiers that got to shoot some bottomless untouched white gold. After this shot my next was still exceptionally good but not totally clear of tracks.

 

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Fast forward to the same afternoon. I went home in a t-shirt, the yard is clear, grass is even greener than before, and I’m thinking I might need to mow this weekend. Even as I was leaving the resort a little more than a hour after my best turns of the year the snow was starting to get wet and heavy due to the powerful sun. Any unopened terrain at Snowbird probably will be punchy crust tomorrow.

 

Here's the 5 day temperature readings at the airport.
Here’s the 5 day temperature readings at the airport.  Pretty easy to see when the cold front came through.