It’s Groundhog’s Day!

Saturday February 2nd, 2013 is Groundhog’s Day! A very important day to a weather person! Groundhog’s Day really has nothing to do with a rodent seeing his shadow, and in the Rocky Mountains it would be rare to not have at least six more weeks of winter. The real significance of Groundhog’s Day is that it marks the halfway point of the “Winter Season”, between the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21st) and the Spring Equinox (Mar. 21st).

Skiing In Grand Teton National Park in late December 2012
The first half of the winter throughout the mountains of the western United States was up and down. In general, it could be characterized by healthy snowfall in December, followed by a long stretch of drought, along with some brutally cold temperatures for a good portion of January. With a period in there when even up at elevation temps were well below zero, before inversions set in.
Jackson Hole Snowfall

In the Teton Mountains, the snowfall and snowdepths we have presently are not too far off of the averages , December’s above normal snowfall in the mountains almost balanced the below normal snowfall of January.
At the at the bottom of Rendezvous Bowl at 9,580-ft. at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, 114 inches of snowfall was recorded in December 2012 and 45 inches in January. That’s a total of 159 inches for the two months, and the historical average for the two months is 163 inches.
As of this morning, February 1, 2013, there was another 7 inches recorded and the settled snowdepth at the Rendezvous Bowl site was reported to be at 73 inches. The average on February 1stis 78 inches. Last year we were at 72 inches. (See summary table below).
Total snowfall so far this season at the Rendezvous Bowl site was at 240 inches. The average at this time of year would be 249 inches, and last year we were only at 198 inches.
Just under average, and just ahead of last year.
First Half of Winter Snowfall Summary & Comparison
Total Season’s Snowfall
as of Feb. 1st
Settled Snowdepth
on Feb. 1st
240 in.
73 in.
198 in.
72 in.
306 in.
87 in.
265 in.
83 in.
249 in.
78 in.
What’s Ahead for the Second Half?……………
I’ll put that in a post later this weekend. After I ski Rendezvous Bowl on Saturday and before the Super Bowl this Sunday. (Providing I don’t ski in the morning before the Super Bowl).
Post by meteorologist Jim Woodmencey
Data from Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center