P1.11 An intense spring snowfall event over the northern Colorado mountains

Monday, 30 August 2010
Alpine Ballroom B (Resort at Squaw Creek)
Michael P. Meyers, NOAA/NWS, Grand Junction, CO; and P. Frisbie, J. D. Colton, M. Aleksa, and A. Strautins

A deep and very cold low pressure system tracked along the western Wyoming and western Colorado border during 5-6 April 2010 and brought heavy snow to the central Rocky Mountains, including the Wasatch Range in northern Utah and the mountains of northwestern Colorado. This intense spring storm had near optimal conditions to bring high intensity snowfall to the central Rockies. A combination of dynamical forcing, deep potential instability, a favorable microphysical environment and orographic lift for a prolonged duration resulted in heavy snow accumulations on windward slopes with snow densities higher than typically observed for this region. Several Snotel sites measured over 2 feet of snowfall. One location, the Elk River Snotel in northwest Colorado measured an intense period of snowfall where 17 inches fell in 6 hours. This study will examine the storm evolution and factors that contributed to the intense snowfall rates.
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