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firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 18.05hrs on Tue 14 Jan 14
As per 2013, I thought I'd kick off this season early. This is as much to do with using the forum as a diary and aide memoir for subsequent writings. Incidentally, the 2013 paper has been drafted and is being passed around the authors for comment. All those who are mentioned in the acknowledgements will receive a copy of the final paper.

So... Where are with snow cover compared to previous years?

After a good start in November, with significant falls occurring across many ranges, most of this early season snow vanished in a mild end to the month. By the 14th of December things were looking pretty thin. [saislochaber.blogspot.co.uk]

However, from the 17th December onward there followed storm after storm after storm, particularly in the west. So much snow fell in two weeks that Glencoe and Nevis Range were able to offer superb skiing across much of the mountain. I also heard from a well-known mountaineer that he'd never seen so much snow in Observatory Gully. Whilst I think this is an over-exaggeration, it does show just how much is actually out there.

The great thing about these storms is that they've virtually all come in from the Atlantic. Huge deposits of snow have built up in NE facing corries, and it is not hyperbole to say that if we get more of the same then we could be looking at the best season since 2000 (where 41 patches survived).

I will update this thread as and when. A good place to look, though, is the SAIS website blog. Aonach Mr and Nevis looking very, very white! [saislochaber.blogspot.co.uk]
saints11


Posts: 16
Joined: Oct 2012
Last Visited: 15:45
24th Jul 2014
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 20.17hrs on Tue 14 Jan 14
Whilst I agree the winter so far has seen much larger falls of mountain snow compared to the easterly dominated winters of recent times do you think the fact that the ground was relatively warm due to the lack of any early hard frosts may have some thawing impact?
firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 19.30hrs on Wed 15 Jan 14
saints11 Wrote:
Whilst I agree the winter so far has seen much larger falls of mountain snow compared to the easterly dominated winters of recent times do you think the fact that the ground was relatively warm due to the lack of any early hard frosts may have some thawing impact?

Though it will make a difference, I don't think it will make a significant impact.

Ben Nevis a couple of days ago. [www.flickr.com] Very promising indeed!
firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 19.38hrs on Wed 15 Jan 14
Glas Maol on 12th January [2.bp.blogspot.com]
snowpatch94


Posts: 66
Joined: Jul 2006
Last Visited: 09:08
21st Nov 2014
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 13.10hrs on Tue 21 Jan 14
Snow packing in again today on south west winds and the forecast for the rerst of the week is more of the same. There must be a tremendous build up of snow in the favoured locations..this is going to be 'some' snow patch season
CB81


Posts: 14
Joined: May 2013
Last Visited: 16:58
30th Sep 2014
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 13.31hrs on Tue 21 Jan 14
I think this winter has been pretty much ideal for snow accumulation in favoured NE facing corries / gullies. Persistant, cool SW gales and the odd freeze / thaw day. If we can get these approaching fronts stalling over the country this week, then all the better!

I think 1951 was a good year for upland snowfall without too much falling in nearer sea level.
firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 20.13hrs on Sat 1 Feb 14
Coire an Lochain today: [1.bp.blogspot.com] That's a lot of snow...

Comparing it to 2008 (below), it's hard to see much difference. That said, the 2008 photo is from the 16th March, and the photo from today is very grainy. When the snow does clear away and visibility is restored, we should have a better idea.

 


I'm getting 2014's campaign for volunteers off to an early start! I suspect this year is going to be very interesting...

 

firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 20.16hrs on Sat 1 Feb 14
Easy Gully on Creag Meagaidh looking very full indeed. [4.bp.blogspot.com]
firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 10.13hrs on Sun 2 Feb 14
MWIS forecast:

'Charts from the main meteorological centres all indicate a very high likelihood of a continuation of the present conditions through the first half of February. Upland gales, sometimes storm force or above, will be very frequent. Precipitation will continue to be very considerable on western mountains, much of it of snow on higher areas (although freezing levels will for periods by 200 or 300m higher than at present).

Staggering. If I were Glencoe ski area or Nevis Range I'd start to develop a marketing strategy for tempting skiers up in April and May, because that's when the best weather will be likely. There's little doubt there'll be enough snow for good sliding right through till the end of May at this rate. January really has been a write-off, and February is shaping up to be the same.

Anyway, for us snow-patchers the current conditions and forecast are music to the ears...
firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 13.11hrs on Tue 4 Feb 14
Interestingly, January's bald figures don't tell the whole story. The temperature has been, broadly, about where it normally is.

 


Also, rainfall has been nothing out of the ordinary.
 

coaster


Posts: 218
Joined: Aug 2007
Last Visited: 21:45
9th Nov 2014
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 14.38hrs on Tue 4 Feb 14
That is interesting firefly. I would interpret the data as follows...

Even average rainfall in Scotland in January is substantial,particularly in the West.
This precipitation arrived in predominantly average temperatures which typically at this time of year would be in the region of 4-8oC by day.Given that we have had no prolonged thaws from the SWly direction this snow has almost constantly been accumulating above 2,500ft.

One summarises that although this January has been 'average' the amount of precipitation that fell in that crucial temperature band has been exceptional.

I'd like to see the wind statistics because that has been far from average!

HTH


Posts: 3167
Joined: Nov 2005
Last Visited: 21:34
9th Oct 2014
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 17.05hrs on Tue 4 Feb 14
This winter has been a reminder that an Atlantic domination is not necessarily bad for snow accumulation. In the bad winters of 90's etc the Atlantic often washed snow away before getting established. But this year a very active Atlantic has delivered storms, but rarely so mild that it thawed on summits.

So the absence of hair dryer phases has been a help. And it does show that an "average" temperature & precip winter cAn be snowy above 600m.... Which is where it matters.

I still have central belt mates who think there's been no snow this season!
Hustler


Posts: 713
Joined: Oct 2006
Last Visited: 13:53
13th Nov 2014
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 16.38hrs on Wed 5 Feb 14
"Also, rainfall has been nothing out of the ordinary."

Well, unless you live in much of Angus or Aberdeenshire, with maybe 175-200% of average!

(someone had to say it...)

Widespread flooding, saturated ground at lower levels and near absurd amounts of snow at higher levels. I've managed 12 cycle commutes so far this year from rural Angus into Dundee. And got wet every single time.
firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 18.37hrs on Fri 7 Feb 14
A magnificent view of Ben Mheadhoin from today, courtesy of Gary Hodgson. [2.bp.blogspot.com] Quite a good covering...
firefly


Posts: 1833
Joined: May 2006
Re: 2014 Scottish snow patch season
Date Posted: 09.50hrs on Sun 9 Feb 14
Just saw this report of Nevis Range from Friday. Coire an Lochain is about as full as it's possible to be. [www.winterhighland.info]
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