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A-Basin Snowpack 96%

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
This post is for snow nerds and aspiring snow nerds only.  I just checked the Grizzly Peak Snotel site and the Snow Water Equivalency (SWE) is 96% of median.  What does that mean?  Snotel is a system of weather and snowpack stations through the Western US.  Adjacent to Arapahoe Basin is the Grizzly Peak Snotel site which is a good indicator of precipitation and SWE in the North Fork of the Snake River basin and at Arapahoe Basin.  SWE is the amount of water on the ground in the snowpack at a specific site.  When you hear on the news that "The snowpack is xx%," they are referring to an amalgamation of the snotel sites in a specific region or basin.  The SWE data on the website refers to median.  Median is not equivalent to average.  100% of median would mean 1/2 of the years would have a bigger snowpack and 1/2 would have a smaller snowpack.  At 96% of median, I am comfortable saying we are at "about median" for snowpack, 1/2 the previous years have had a bigger pack, 1/2 the previous years have had a smaller pack.  This a great indicator of how much snow we have had the last 2 1/2 months and that runoff has not started at all.  Looking at the 5 day forecast, I suspect we will go over 100% soon.

The Snotel website is really fun to play around and comprehensive for getting all kinds of data.  It is especially informative for skiers and river runners.  Go to the link below, click "Colorado" and then click "Create Report" to view Colorado Snotel information.