Some Good News: The West Has a Lot of Snow

WC has been writing about mostly bad news: spineless mayors, salmon-threatening foolishness, sexual perverts enabled by those who were supposed to be on guard; deforestation. It’s time for a bit of good news.

In the West, especially the Intermountain West where WC lives, it’s all about water. This place is a desert, and an adequate snowpack is absolutely essential for the complex system of dams and irrigation to function. The cumulative snowpack in the mountains is tracked very, very carefully.1

Cumulative Snowpack at March 5, as Function of Long-term Average

Cumulative Snowpack at March 5, as Function of Long-term Average

Just look at all that beautiful blue and green! The long-term forecast is for a drier than average summer, which implies a bad fire season. All that snow will lead to a bloom of grasses and underbrush, which will turn to tinder as summer heats up. But for farmers and for salmon, it looks pretty good. Oh, and it means the skiing is pretty good, too.

In a time of unprecedented manmade climate change, and the unpredictable consequences of humankind’s little experiment, you take your blessings where you find them.

Of course, there can be too much snow. As recently as 2017, the water management folks were running stream at flood stage to cope with the record snows. We’re not there yet. Even if it is snowing as WC writes this. But for now, in a part of the continent defined by scarcity of water, it’s looking pretty good.


  1. The map link is a very serious time suck. You’ve been warned.