11:47am Mountain Time, August 12, 2019 -
First, a recap of last season, one of the best, 2018-2019…
Temperatures stayed, for the most part, colder than average, which was great for preserving snow. Snowfall was pretty consistent.
In December, temperatures were cold. There was a slow start between the 7th and 16th (one 2” day of snow on the 12th), but more snow arrived just in time for the holidays, with 6 days of snow between the 17th and 24th, totaling 18”. Most of this stayed frozen, so there was a nice base of fresh snow for the early season and Christmas day 2018. 4” of snow fell Christmas eve. More snow fell for the holiday period, with 3 more days of snow totaling 6” falling after Christmas and prior to New Years Day.
A NOTE on snowfall records. I was using the SnoTel stations nearby, and these reported snow totals significantly higher than reported at Bogus. Why? Because the snow-board box that the live cam is pointed at, does not hold all of the snow that has fallen, due to winds, which there was a lot of with many of these storms. Snow drifting is also a factor. So the totals reported, in my estimation, were in many cases well under what actually fell at the resort. The total reported for the season, December through mid April, was 202” at the BASE. I would estimate that mid and upper mountain at Bogus Basin (6,800+ feet elevation), overall, saw 300+” of snow this past season, and the base? 250-ish” maybe, based on some comparisons.
So January 2019 had a slow start but still not dry, with 3 days of snow for the first 2 weeks, a total of 10” reported. Again, temperatures were cold and snow preservation was excellent. The last half of January, basically through late March, saw most days reporting snowfall. The last 2 weeks of January we saw 20” of snow reported (please see our note on snow totals above…)
…and February, well, if you were on the mountain at all this month, you know that it was snowmageddon! There were only 6 days not reporting snowfall, and 22 days with snowfall ranging mainly from 3 to 8 inches. It was piling up. From Feb 9th through the 17th, it snowed every day, totaling about 3 ½ feet! After a “dry” 18th and 19th of February, the 20th through the 28th we saw every day reporting snowfall, with a total of almost 4 feet! February of 2019 reported 107” of snow, basically 9 feet!
March slowed down a bit, with 28 inches of snow reported on 10 days of snowfall. April continued at about the same pace, with 11” of snow reported through the 15th, on 3 days of snow in April. The snowpack was so good, and more snow fell, that people were able to ski the local mountains for another month, into May 2019!
Fall/ Winter 2019-2020? What is expected for Bogus Basin?
FIRST: If anyone was up on the mountain on August 11th, Sunday, they know that it was a bit cold, with 53f at the base as of 1pm, and likely in the upper 40’s on the summits, with some wind (of course, get pedaling with your layer of clothes on, and you warm up fast). The unusual aspect of this cooler weather in early August, is not the temperature alone, but how this happened. It is possible to see these temperatures even in early August (though very rare), when thunderstorms are proliferating across the Boise area, but this air was not dragged down from the heights (much higher elevations than base and top elevations at Bogus) via heavy showers and hail (thunderstorms), but 54f was the “free air” temperature at 5,000 feet elevation all across the large area due to a colder than usual Gulf of Alaska low, and across the Cascades of Washington, that temperature was 47f. This IS unusual and cold for early August. What is the Gulf of ALASKA (haha) doing down here in the “dog days of summer”? There are more like this storm system, coming this month also...
What are we expecting for August? It looks like some areas of southwest Canada and the Pacific Northwest, including western Montana and northwest Wyoming (northern Rocky Mountains), will see some snow moving in between August 21stand 24th, to areas between 6,000 to 8,000 feet and above. This is not unheard of, but it is an early indicator of what is brewing in the arctic regions, and Gulf of Alaska. The low-pressure pattern is more active than average for the Northwest US and southwest Canada. We are also now in an ENSO-Neutral pattern instead of the El Nino we were looking at, and this is expected to last through the fall and winter 2019-2020. I think it will even lean a bit toward La Nina, with some colder Sea Surface Temperatures in the right ENSO regions of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Sun spot activity is low as well, which usually portends a colder than average regime across large regions.
So, in light of what is being seen, I am expecting, overall, colder than usual temperatures (great snow preservation), and near to above average snowfall (possible La Nina influence, and more northern storms diving south across Bogus Basin, especially as we move into January. Remember, with colder than average temperatures, the higher snow level days we would usually see, with wet snow or even rain at the base, would become lower snow levels, for more snow, and lighter, less dense, more powdery snow; deeper. The higher snow level El Nino type “Pineapple Express” storms are not likely this season. Not only is colder and powdery snow more desirable, but produces more snow depth overall. Unlike last season, I expect November and December to start off with more snow days early on, helping to establish a natural base before the usual early December opening. That’s it for now, but there is more to come. Chris Manly/ Meteorologist/www.SnowForecast.com
Update August 15, watch for some weather updates, as we are expecting an active (Gulf of Alaska storms) and very unusual August/ September.