2015-03-19 Reports: NM Thundersnow

This afternoon, while skiing at Ski Santa Fe, I encountered one of the most intense thundersnow events I have ever experienced, After feeble attempts at convection all day that had produced nothing more than a few light showers of graupel or snow, the atmosphere went nuts just after 3:00 p.m. From then until 4:30, when I headed down the snowy roads from the ski area, 3 inches of graupel (mostly) and snow (some) came down, accompanied the entire time by thunder and lightning, at times occurring a time or two per minute. There were multiple strikes within a quarter mile of my location, meaning multiple strikes within the boundaries of the ski area. The Ski Patrol had quite a scramble getting the lifts shut down and making sure everyone was accounted for, and had to use snowmobiles to get up the mountain for the end of day sweep, since they could not use the lifts.

Anticipating the possibility of thundersnow, I did have a couple of less than adequate cameras with me to attempt getting video. Both had battery issues in the cold, wet environment (even though I charged them before I left), as well as fogging issues at times. Hence, the quality of my video is low, but it does capture the dramatic nature of the situation, especially when the first few CGs started zapping down on the ski area. Video can be seen at:


Kudos to NWS ABQ on their forecast for this one. The winter storm warning went into effect at 3 p.m., with a forecast of 3-5 inches of snow during the afternoon. After basically nothing until 3:00, I heard the first thunder at 3:03 p.m., and by 4:30 - in just an hour and a half - 3 inches had fallen.

I will eventually post a full report on my Web page, and will post the link here when I do.