Dave Steenburgh of the University of Utah discusses the El Nino of 2015-2016 as the winter snows are behind us. The winners and losers. Here in Star Valley it has been about an average snow season thus far but where the real help was needed from El Nino across the Southwest, it has been a disappointment.
Chris Farley always delivered, but even if all other "tropical storms" bow before El Nino, as he suggests above, the 2015/16 "Super" El Nino continues to be a bust for the southwest United States.
Let's go back to a few months ago when we knew a strong El Nino was likely for this winter. At that time, one could find all sorts of graphics like the one below showing the "typical" wintertime pattern associated with El Nino, including the wet southwest.
Let's fast forward to today. The percent of average precipitation below covers the past 90 days (roughly since just before Christmas). Northern California has done quite well, which is why reservoirs there have recovered, but most of the southwest has been below average during this period.
If we look at snowpack the numbers in the far southwest are really dismal, but even southern Utah, southern Colorado, and northern New Mexico are slipping below average.
Finally, if you are skiing in northern Utah, you should just stop looking at seasonal forecasts altogether. SEASONAL OUTLOOKS ARE UTTERLY AND TOTALLY VALUELESS FOR ANTICIPATING WHAT KIND OF SKI SEASON WE ARE GOING TO HAVE IN NORTHERN UTAH. Next October, don't waste your time on this stuff. Wax your skis and be happy.