TWC: Montana’s Glacier National Park Still Digging Out Buildings Buried in Snow

Written by on April 30, 2018 in United States of America with 0 Comments

By Jon Erdman
Apr 30 2018 01:05 PM EDT

Snow-removal crews at Montana’s Glacier National Park are finding the annual spring plowing of roads tougher after an impressive winter snowpack that remains well above average by late April standards.

The National Park Service posted a series of photos over the past week showing drifts piled over roofs of buildings closed for the season at the national park in northwest Montana about 100 miles northwest of Great Falls.
Among the most notable pictures were from the Two Medicine Campground on the east side of the park. A restroom appeared to be virtually swallowed up by snowdrifts and drifts were piled up above the roof line of the campground’s general store.

A snowplow rides atop a drift as high as the roof of a restroom at the Two Medicine Campground in Glacier National Park on Apr. 23, 2018.

Snow removal crews encountered average depths of 7 to 10 feet, with a few drifts up to 20 feet in Two Medicine, according to an NPS press release.

Think about that the next time you have to plow out your driveway.

A view of a snow buried road near the Two Medicine Campground in Glacier National Park on Apr, 23, 2018.

At Many Glacier, north of the Two Medicine Campground, large piles of snow blocked the view of the front of a ranger station housing area, and one snowbank topped the height of a standard pickup truck.
Snow removal has also been ongoing on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the primary route through Glacier National Park, utilizing giant snowthrowers and front-end loaders.

One large drift of snow covers part of the roof of a building at the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park on Apr. 26, 2018.

A National Park staff person stands next to the impressive pile of snow accumulated at the Many Glacier Ranger Station housing area on Apr. 26, 2018.

In one case where snowpack was especially deep, crews had to dump snow into Upper McDonald Creek.

The NPS warned of an increased threat of avalanches given the heavy snowpack, recent snowmelt and rain.
Avalanche forecasters will monitor the more than 40 avalanche zones through the spring to help keep snow-removal crews safe.

A snowplow cuts through feet of snowpack on the Going-to-the-Sun Road near West Tunnel in Glacier National Park on Apr. 25, 2018.

Last year, heavy snowpack kept at least part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road closed until June 28, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

In a typical spring, most other roads in the park are open by mid to late May, according to the NPS.

Estimated snow-water equivalent percent of average for April 29, 2018, in the northern Rockies. Much of northern Montana was at least 50 percent above average for late April. The blue arrow highlights the approximate location of Glacier National Park. (USDA/NRCS National Water and Climate Center)

Still a Lot of Snow Left

In late February, a yearly manual snow survey taken near Logan Creek found more snow on the ground than any such survey in 30 years.
The snowpack remains well above average over much of the northern Rockies, including northwest Montana, as measured by the snow-water equivalent, or estimated water content of the snowpack.
An automated station located at Many Glacier (elevation 4,900 feet) still had an estimated 32 inches of snow depth as of April 30.
More impressively, this station estimated a snow water content of 13 inches, which was over three times the average in late April.
Through April 29, the weather station at East Glacier Park Village measured 284 inches of snow since fall 2017, their second snowiest season-to-date, topped only by 1971-72 (316 inches), though there is a number of missing snowfall observations each year at this location (44 such days in 2017-2018, to date).
So, this typically time-consuming, formidable task each spring may take at least a bit longer this year.

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