Polar Plunge To Grip Europe; Tahoe’s Emerald Bay Freezes Over For First Time In Decades; + Ski Seasons Extended Across U.S. Thanks To Historic Snowpack

Polar Plunge To Grip Europe

Another avalanche death has been posted in the European Alps this week — an 18-year-old British man has been swept to his death in Switzerland, with another person still missing.

The tragedy occurred in the resort area of Meiringen following heavy snowfall.

Swiss Alpine Rescue and several helicopters were immediately deployed, and recovered the body of the British teenager. The search for the second skier is ongoing. Air rescue teams have joined the search, as have mountain specialists and local police.

A police spokeswoman said: “The avalanche was set off when two of the skiers went down. They were both buried. The emergency services, which were deployed immediately, could only recover a buried man who was dead.

“The search for the second person had to be interrupted. It was resumed in the morning of Wednesday. But the emergency search was then stopped around lunchtime. There have been no sightings of the skier or any ski equipment.

“The rescuers have done everything they were able to do. Resources have been exhausted. We have tried everything that we could. It is quite a big area to search. The avalanche was 800m long.”

Looking ahead, further rounds of heavy spring snow are on the cards for the Alps — as well as parts of the UK, practically all of Scandinavia, the Balkans, and a large band extending north-to-south over far-eastern Europe, including the Ukraine:

GFS Total Snowfall (cm) March 24 – April 9 [tropicaltidbits.com].

The heaviest snows will arrive in line with a late-March polar plunge, due to bring temperature anomalous of as much as -16C below the seasonal norm to Sweden and Norway, for example:

GFS 2m Temperature Anomalies (C) March 27 – 28 [tropicaltidbits.com].

While speculating further ahead, the British tabloids are getting excited about new long-term weather models that predict “a record cold Easter” this year, prompting bookmakers to slash their odds on Easter being the chillest ever.

This remains to be seen, and if you know the UK tabloid rhetoric, it usually proves complete and utter bollocks. But still, “weather warnings across the UK suggest we’re already well on course for a record-breaking cold Easter,” so says Alex Apati of Ladbrokes, and Met Office reports do show the vast majority of the country being hit by an extreme cold spell come April 9.

Temperatures as low was -8C (17.6F) are scheduled to hit the Scottish Highlands, once again — record lows for the time of year.

Tahoe’s Emerald Bay Freezes Over For First Time In Decades

Tahoe’s Emerald Bay has completely frozen over for what is thought to be the first time in decades.

Located just north of South Lake Tahoe, the last time the inlet froze over is believed to have been in the early 1990s, according to California State Park officials.

The below photos are from a little earlier in the month:

Tahoe’s Emerald Bay frozen over [California State Parks]
Tahoe’s Emerald Bay frozen over [California State Parks]

Emerald Bay sees partial freezes every winter, but for the bay to completely ice over is highly unusual, so say officials.

The ice is currently believed to be about 6 inches deep.

Ski Seasons Extended Across U.S. Thanks To Historic Snowpack

Staying in Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain, Palisades Tahoe, Northstar, Kirkwood, and Sugar Bowl are among the many ski resorts that are extending their season.

While most resorts usually close in early/mid-April, many are now staying open until May, some longer.

Palisades, for example, announced Thursday that they have received so much snow they’re staying open through July 4.

Heavenly ski resort officials say a brutal winter has impacted this season’s operations.

“We opened Nov 11 and it’s been cold and snowy ever since. We haven’t seen a big melt or a lot of settlement. We’ve had four full closure days and then a number of wind hold days or visibility hold days just due to the amount of active weather we’ve seen this season,” said Ricky Newberry, Senior Director of Mountain Operations.

Heavenly expects to set a new snow record this year.

Traversing south, Mammoth Mountain announced it too is extending its ski season until at least the end of July after SoCal received historic totals this season, now just one snowstorm away from breaking its all-time record of 668 inches.

“Sitting on one of the deepest base depths ever recorded at Main Lodge, it’s going to be some of the best spring skiing and riding we’ve ever seen,” read a statement posted on Facebook:

Shifting a little east, into Utah, it was way back in 1983 when the Beehive State’s snowpack was higher than it is now.

Thursday’s round of storms boosted Utah’s statewide snowpack to 25.7 inches, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service data, making it only the fourth time on record (beginning 1980) that the state has reached 25+ inches.

The other three occurrences were in 1982 (25.5 inches), 1983 (26 inches) and 1984 (25.2 inches).

Utah is now just 0.3 inches from that all-time record set 40 years ago now.

This reality chimes with what Prof. David Dilley recently postulated: “Weather is beginning to revert back to pre-1982 patterns around the world.”

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center projections indicate a higher probability for more winter storm action to close out the month, meaning Utah’s all-time 1983 record (of 26 inches) is all but assured of falling.

While in Colorado, the state has endured an exceptional year for snowfall, with all regions, with the exception of the far southeast region, ahead of the 30-year snowpack average.

Persistent and disruptive winter weather has blown through seemingly non-stop this season, particularly across the southwest. And even now, with April fast approaching, areas were forecast 72 inches over a two-day period this week.

San Miguel-Dolores-Animas-San Juan river basin is pushing 180% of the snowpack norm.

And on March 23, the region surpassed the to-date all-time snowpack max of 29.9 inches set back in 1993.

USDA & NRCS snow water equivalent for the San Miguel-Dolores-Animas-San Juan basin

With a cold and snowy end to March on the cards, this season’s snowpack is likely to best the highest ever (1987’s 32.1 inches).

GFS 2m Temperature Anomalies (C) March 24 – 28 [tropicaltidbits.com].
GFS Total Snowfall (cm) March 24 – April 9 [tropicaltidbits.com].

Enjoy your weekend.

It’s still a little too cold for me to get my corn into the ground, so I’ll spend my days finishing the goat shed and pig sty. Our new Kunekunes are ready to be collected next week. Self-sufficiency is key in the times we’re entering into. For those who want to not only survive by thrive, steps need to be taken everyday. Do something. It’s now spring — throw some seeds into the ground.

See you Monday.

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