SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Every once in a while, Mother Nature throws us a curve. A little shot of snow this morning caught many off guard. And while the snow wasn't necessarily expected it's most certainly welcome. Unfortunately, like many of our storms so far, this one didn't pack much of a punch.
So far for the year, we're at about 65% of normal snowfall. Last year we were nearly twice that amount at 127%, so what's going on?
We had a strong La Nina last winter and that resulted in record snowfall, this year we're in a weaker La Nina pattern so while we still expect plenty of snow, the dynamics that produce that snow are a little different.
What's happening is a big blocking high pressure ridge is set up over the eastern Pacific Ocean and typically that does well for us towards producing big snowfalls but what's going on is the storms are becoming disorganized as they get to Utah and we're seeing a splitting system. As a result, we've not seen much snow in quite a while.
Most of our ski resorts are up and running but only with about half the snow they had last year at this time. Conditions are good but nothing beats fresh snow. This isn't going to cut it, typically to reach a normal snowpack for the season we need some early December snow storms. Though we're not seeing much now there's no need to panic just yet.
If we end December with little more snow than we have right now we could be headed for a less than stellar snow season.
2008, 2009, and 2010 we didn't see much snow until the second week of December and we did quite well through all of those years so we still have a good chance that we're going to have an okay year but we don't want to let this go too long.