Saturday, October 14, 2017

Preliminary Snowfall Totals Through Noon Saturday

3 Inches at Star Valley Ranch  Friday Night

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Riverton WY
200 PM MST Sat Oct 14 2017

...Preliminary Snowfall Totals Through Noon Saturday..

Snowfall began in western Wyoming late Friday night and began to
spread east of the Divide during the predawn hours Saturday. The
snow is tapering off now and will soon end across the state. A
relatively narrow band of persistent heavy snow passed over Teton
Pass to Teton Village area where and estimated 4 to 10 inches of
snow accumulated.

Snotels (Snow Telemetry) are remote sensing sites in the mountain
watersheds.  Snowfall data from SNOTELS are estimated based on snow
water equivalent.
Location                              Snowfall
Lincoln County...
 Willow Creek Snotel...               4 inches.
 5 NNE Thayne...                    3.5 inches.
 Cottonwood Creek Snotel...           3 inches.
 Commissary Ridge...                  3 inches.
 Star Valley Ranch...                 3 inches.
 Box Y Ranch...                       2 inches.
 Spring Creek Divide Snotel...        2 inches.
 Indian Creek Snotel...               2 inches.
 Blind Bull Summit...                 2 inches.
 Afton...                           1.5 inches.
 5 SSE Smoot...                       1 inch.
 Salt River Summit Snotel...          1 inch.
 Kelley Ranger Station Snotel...      1 inch.
 2 SE Thayne...                       1 inch.
Big Horn County... Shell Creek Snotel... 2 inches. Bald Mountain Snotel... 1 inch. Fremont County... St. Lawrence Alt Snotel... 6 inches. Hobbs Park Snotel... 6 inches. Dubois... 5 inches. Hudson... 3.5 inches. Townsend Creek Snotel... 3 inches. Lander Airport... 2.6 inches. Brooks Lake... 2 inches. Riverton Airport... 1.9 inches. 4 W Riverton... 1.5 inches. 7 WNW Lander... 1.1 inches. Little Warm Snotel... 1 inch. Deer Park Snotel... 1 inch. Castle Creek Snotel... 1 inch. Riverton... 0.2 inches. Burris... 0.1 inches. Hot Springs County... Owl Creek Snotel... 3 inches. Thermopolis... 0.2 inches. Johnson County... Cloud Peak Reservoir Snotel... 2 inches. Bear Trap Meadow Snotel... 1 inch. Natrona County... Grave Springs Snotel... 2 inches. Reno Hill Snotel... 1 inch. Casper Airport... 0.2 inches. Park County... Beartooth Lake Snotel... 7 inches. Blackwater Snotel... 4 inches. Evening Star Snotel... 3 inches. Kirwin Snotel... 3 inches. Timber Creek Snotel... 2 inches. Marquette Snotel... 2 inches. Pahaska... 1 inch. Wolverine Snotel... 1 inch. Younts Peak Snotel... 1 inch. 3 NE Sunshine... 0.9 inches. 26 SW Cody... 0.5 inches. Sublette County... Pocket Creek Snotel... 6 inches. Boulder Rearing Station... 3 inches. Snider Basin Snotel... 2 inches. Big Sandy Opening Snotel... 1 inch. Gunsite Pass Snotel... 1 inch. East Rim Divide Snotel... 1 inch. 14 NW Pinedale... 0.8 inches. Daniel Fish Hatchery... 0.1 inches. Sweetwater County... Teton County... Jackson Hole - Rendezvous Bowl... 11 inches. Jackson Hole - Raymer... 9 inches. Jackson Hole - Mid Mountain... 9 inches. Grand Targhee - Chief Joseph... 8 inches. Togwotee Pass Snotel... 8 inches. Jackson Hole - Base... 8 inches. 2 NE Teton Village... 7 inches. 5 NW Jackson... 7 inches. Grand Targhee Snotel... 6 inches. Snow King... 5 inches. Jackson... 2 to 4 inches. Base Camp Snotel... 3 inches. Jackson Dam... 3 inches. Togwotee Mountain Lodge... 3 inches. Grassy Lake Snotel... 2 inches. Snake River Stn Snotel... 1 inch. Washakie County... Powder River Pass Snotel... 3 inches. 16 SSE Ten Sleep... 0.5 inches. Yellowstone National Park... Sylvan Lake Snotel... 6 inches. Lewis Lake Divide Snotel... 5 inches. Parker Peak Snotel... 5 inches. Two Ocean Plateau Snotel... 3 inches. Canyon Snotel... 2 inches. Yellowstone East Entrance... 2 inches. Sylvan Road Snotel... 1 inch. Thumb Divide Snotel... 1 inch.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Summary of a Record or Near Record Water Year For Western Wyoming Including Star Valley

The Riverton Forecast Office has compiled a summary of the Water Year(Oct 1 2016-Sept 30 2017) precipitation for locations in Western Wyoming. For comparison Star Valley Ranch measured 38.05 inches with 252 inches of snow. This is comparable to the amount observed at Old Faithful in YNP where the 38.57 inches was the greatest ever recorded going back to 1905!  Another reliable observer in Star Valley Ranch actually measured around 40 inches for the Water Year.
Old Faithful measured 262 inches of snow vs the 252 at Star Valley Ranch.
For more details of this record water year including graphs go to the link

Monday, October 9, 2017

Coldest Morning in 7 Months

Sunrise Over Afton WY October 9 2017 from the West Hills

Temperatures dipped to the lowest levels across much of Western Wyoming including Star Valley in about 7 months.  As an example Thayne Elementary weather station dropped to 19 degrees at sunrise the coldest since it was 17 above zero on March 6th.  The lowest reported reading in the valley this morning as 15 above zero at Double L Ranch located along the Salt River to the northwest of Etna

The following map is a plot of reported minimum temperatures across the region.  There were a few  single digits observed in the high elevations of northwest Wyoming.

Minimum Temperatures October 9 2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dry Fall Weather Ahead

With the dissipation of the snow showers Sunday evening across Star Valley it brings to an end a very wet 30 day period.  Star Valley Ranch has measured 5 inches of precipitation since the 8th of September. However it now appears that the jet stream pattern will be adjusting with much of the storm activity tracking mainly to the north of Western Wyoming the next couple of weeks.

There will be fast moving cold fronts crossing the mountain west during much of the remainder of October, for the most part they will be dry but windy.  Unlike the last few weeks, it appears like sunshine will be a frequent visitor to Western Wyoming, particularly this coming work week.

Beyond this week the forecasts are calling for cool and dry conditions.

Temperature Forecasts October 14-18 2017

Precipitation for period October 4-18 2017
Looking ahead toward the latter half  of October continued dry conditions cover much of the area.

Precipitation Probability Oct 21-Nov.  3 2017

Temperature Probability Oct 21- Nov 3 2017

The skill of forecasting, particularly precipitation, degrades  certainly beyond a week, however it is interesting to see the computer model forecast of accumulated precipitation over the next 16 days.

Totals for the next two plus weeks are generally less than an inch except for the high country in Northwest Wyoming.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Cloud Videos Across Star Valley on Monday October 2 2017

Monday was a great cloud day across all of Star Valley.  For those who also enjoyed the skies of Star Valley Monday, following are 4 cam videos from the day with different perspectives.


Cam located near Bedford looking north toward Star Valley Ranch


Cam located in the West Hills looking east toward Afton


Cam located near Star Valley Ranch  looking north across Etna


Cam located in Double L Estates viewing north toward Alpine

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Star Valley and Wyoming Water Year 2016-2017,

October 1st marks the beginning of a new water year.  Also a time to review the water year just ended.  With the exception of  a rather dry summer, Star Valley and surrounding areas were favored with  beneficial moisture,including both rain and snow.

The first figure displays the total precipitation that was measured from October 1 2016-September 30 2017(Water Year) for much of western Wyoming and surrounding areas.

Total Precipitation Oct. 1 2016 to Sept. 30 2017

Much of Northern and Western Wyoming experienced above to much above normal precipitation for the water year 2016/2017, noted in the following figure.

Daily observations of rain and snow are measured at Star Valley Ranch. Following are the monthly totals in inches of each at the Star Valley Ranch site at an elevation near 6400 feet.

Month          Rain        Snow
Oct 2016      6.05          9.8
Nov              1.63        17.5
Dec              3.90         64.0 
Jan 2017      5.00         69.5
Feb              5.04         41.1
Mar             2.81         17.2
Apr             4.56         23.7
May            1.47          5.0
Jun              2.06             0
Jul                 .22            0
Aug               .62            0
Sep              4.69         4.0

Total          38.05     251.8

The consequence of last winters snows was a very large spring and early summer runoff that filled the Snake River reservoir system by the first of July.  The water levels remain well above normal even as the new water year begins. The graph below compares the current vs last year and average water supply in Palisades reservoir.


With the benefical precipitation during the last half of September, the water level in Palisades has actually increased recently. It will be of interest to see how  the coming winter snow impacts the well above normal  current water storage in the Snake River System..

Friday, September 29, 2017

Northern Lights Return to Star Valley

Northern Lights September 27 2017

Wednesday night and Thursday Morning a display of the Northern Lights(Aurora Borealis) was captured on the web cam located near Star Valley Ranch.  The previous display occurred last May 27th.