|Back in the 1940s, some snow surveyors were nuts enough to try and attach an airplane propeller to a snowmobile. Definitely would not pass modern health and safety rules.|
|Montana snow surveyors take a core sample last year.|
|Next the surveyors weigh the tube and snow core.|
For example, this January 1st snow survey is to summer water supplies as the Iowa Caucuses are to the US Presidential Election. For our overseas readers, the elections have a couple phases:
First comes the caucuses to nominate a candidate from each party (Democrats and Republicans). Then the parties each pick one candidate (in August). Then the parties run against each other in the final election (in November). Right now it is so many months ahead, how can anyone possibly know who the eventual winner will be? Similarly, the runoff season is many months away- how can January's snow tell what June or July's runoff is going to be?
According to historical caucus results, unless a candidate runs unopposed, winning the Iowa Caucus gives you about a 54% chance of being the party's candidate. If this sounds like a coin-flip, consider that typically the winner has to beat three to five other candidates. For example, nobody that ever came in last place in the Iowa Caucus ever won the election.
|Remember this guy? Bill Clinton only got 3% of the Iowa Caucus vote but still won the election. Long shots occasionally happen they but aren't often the best bet.|
Two important maps are the precipitation "Water year to date % of normal" map and...
|Precipitation map, click to enlarge|
|Snow map, click to enlarge|
That's nice, knowing the snow and all, but what exactly does it mean for summer runoff? Stay tuned for the runoff forecasts themselves, expected in a few days...