Cold But Little Snow First Half Of December

Cold But Little Snow First Half Of December

So far December 2011 has been cold with little in the way of significant snow across Star Valley.  Both Thayne and Etna Elementary School Weather Stations have now been providing reliable weather data since the fall of 2010. Following are data from the school stations.

Thayne                   Avg Max Avg Min 
Dec 1-15 2011            19               -3
Dec 2010                    31              14
Jan   2011                   26                6
Feb  2011                    27               5

Etna                        Avg Max   Avg Min
Dec 1-15 2011             20                  0
Dec 2010                     31                15
Jan 2011                      26                  7
Feb 2011                     28                  5

The first 15 days of December’s averages, thus far, are much colder than December 2010 as well as the normal temperatures for the month at the Beford Climatological station with a maximum of 28 and minimum of 6. Additionally, both stations are well below those observed last January and February.

The coldest morning so far this month was the 6th when Thayne dipped to -14 and Etna -10.  Minimums at Thayne ES have been below zero 12 mornings so far this month.

While still cold, the Star Valley Ranch station has  recorded average maximum/minimums of 26 and 7 thus far in December. The only morning below zero was on the 6th when it dipped to -4.

A strong temperature inversion has been in place much of the month which typically keeps the valley floor much colder than higher elevations.  Thus the higher readings at Star Valley Ranch which is 300-400 feet above the adjacent valley floor.

While the early Fall started out with several significant snows, high pressure has dominated across Star Valley so far in December with the storms tracking both north and south of much of southeast Idaho and Wyoming.

Snowfall so far this month at Star Valley Ranch has totaled just 7 inches, while the station south of Smoot has had just 8 inches.   The average snow for the month of December at the Bedford Climate station is over 30 inches.  Storms are expected to continue bypassing Star Valley for the next several days, so any appreciable snow is unlikely.  With the early fall storms the snow totals since Oct 1st are 58 inches  at Star Valley Ranch and 61 inches at the station south of Smoot.