Meadows Blog

New Data Loggers Provide Near Real Time Weather Reporting

You may have noticed that the temperature and windspeed values on our conditions page are reported in near real time this season. This was made possible by the installation this fall of new "data loggers" at the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC) telemetry stations located at the top and bottom of our Mt. Hood Express lifts. These data loggers provide continuous readings, which we update on our web site every five minutes. This entirely automated process provides the most accurate and immediate weather readings to our conditions page and those who view it.

We still provide the link to the NWAC 24 hour telemetry, which records hourly readings. However, there is a delay of up to 30 minutes before the hourly data is presented. This can create discrepencies between the "real time" readings reported on our site, and the hourly reading reported on the NWAC site, but we feel it is better to provide the most current data possible.

We also use the real time data for our snow phone reports, our Fuel TV monitors in the lodge and the emailed snow report which goes out to subsribers at 5:40 AM each morning. Because some of our guests have noticed discrepencies in the NWAC hourly temperature reports and our "real time" reports, we did a comparison of the two over an 11 day period. Keep in mind, the readings are coming from the same data loggers units, this is just a difference in time of when they are recorded.

Here’s a comparison of the 5:40 AM temps reported in our email compared to the 5 AM temps reported on NWAC. The first temperature is the 5:40 AM value which was sent out in our snow report email each morning.  The second temperature is the NWAC 5 AM reading. We "bolded" any discrepencies between the two.

Date:  Bottom .. Top
01/02: 27 / 28 .. 22 / 23
01/01: 35 / 36 .. 30 / 31
12/31: 24 / 25 .. 21 / 22
12/30: 25 / 25 .. 20 / 22
12/29: 21 / 21 .. 19 / 20
12/28: 27 / 27 .. 24 / 23
12/27: 17 / 17 .. 18 / 18
12/26: 29 / 30 .. 25 / 25
12/25: 34 / 33 .. 40 / 40
12/24: 28 / 28 .. 32 / 32
12/23: 22 / 22 .. 24 / 28 (The 6 AM NWAC was 24 so the temp was dropping between 5 AM and 6 AM)

So out of the 11 days reported, the 5:40 AM "real time" reading appearing in our snow report emails:

Bottom Telemetry:
4 Days 1 Degree less than 5 AM
6 Days Exact Match of 5 AM
1 Day 1 degree more than 5 AM

Top Telemetry:
1 Day 4 Degrees less than 5 AM
1 Day 2 Degrees less than 5 AM
4 Days 1 Degree less than 5 AM
4 Days Exact Match of 5 AM
1 Day 1 Degree more than 5 AM

Bottom line:
7 out of 11 days the 5:40 AM matched or was warmer than the 5 AM at the Bottom of Express.
5 out of 11 days the 5:40 AM matched or was warmer than the 5 AM at the Top of Express.

We present this information so you can better understand where these temperature readings come from and how we report them. Again, this all comes directly from the telemetry automatically - it is not altered or filtered in any way by Mt. Hood Meadows. We believe this is the best way to present the most accurate and immediate weather data for our guests.

-- Meadows Team

14 Comments

  1. e

    January 2, 2010

    I would like to commend you on advances in reporting conditions over the past year. The lift conditions and live temp updates are very useful.

    However, the snowphone message has become unwieldy. Please indicate temperature, snowfall, lift closures (if most lifts are open it saves much time to only list closures) and windspeed on the phone message FIRST, before listing information that changes less frequently or is less "important." Phone reception is sometimes spotty on the way to the mountain, so calls can drop out before the end of a long message.

    Thanks.

  2. Tom Weis

    January 3, 2010

    Delay or no delay, I'll trust a 3rd party's data over Meadows. They have NO investment in putting heads on the hill.

    Meadows: FYI: Meadows was the first resort to provide a publish a link to the telemetry collected by NWAC. It's been displayed on our web site and we have used their conditions readings (not ours) for over a decade. Our cameras also tell a convincing story of conditions on the hill. Our focus is accuracy and immediacey - conveying to our guests these conditions as quickly as possible.

  3. Temira

    January 3, 2010

    Hi Tom, I'm Temira and I update the snowphone and website at Meadows, along with Nick and David. I am on the hill on Saturday and Sunday during the day, updating the phone and website with honest and accurate information. We also have snow reporters on the slopes, updating our information in real-time, at any time we are open. I promise you, with my reputation at stake, that the information we provide is as accurate and timely as humanly possible. As a skier myself, I understand the importance of honesty in condition reporting. I don't want to be lied to, and neither I, nor any of the other reporters, will lie to you. Hope this helps clarify things. Have a great day!

  4. todd

    January 4, 2010

    I've skied at just about every area in the western U.S. and Canada, and over the last couple years your conditions reports have been more detailed and accurate than just about anybody's. I appreciate it. In fact, I think the Meadows has made a terrific turnaround in service and attitude recently. Cheers.

  5. TMSM

    January 8, 2010

    Is there daily snowfall history we can get to, any more? You used to have daily precipitation listed for the whole season (and a couple previous seasons, too).

    Meadows: We'll see if we can revive that - we're pulling our conditions off of the telemetry differently from in the past.

  6. Fencepost

    January 8, 2010

    I, too, appreciate the accurate conditions reporting. I remember not too many years ago when the only conditions reported were "powder" and "packed powder." Packed powder meant you would be sliding down the mountain uncontrolled on a sheet of ice. You might lose a few sales by being honest, but you'll make it up in the trust you'll gain.

  7. Jeff

    January 13, 2010

    Having been to various Colorado, California, Utah and Nevada resorts, I have to agree that Meadows is one the most accurate in reporting conditions. There's a least one Central Oregon resort that considers 50 mph winds to be "moderate" :-)

    I especially appreciate the "truth cams", but rely on a combination of available data to determine what to wear, when to arrive, or if I should just roll over and try again tomorrow.

  8. K M C

    January 16, 2010

    I agree the weather details and forecast for Mt. Hood are the best I have ever seen.

    That being said lets be honest, the other resorts don't have rain 4 to 5 times a week on the entire or lower half of their mountains, plus everyone doesn't have to drive a hundred plus miles round trip to ski for a day. There is usually tons of lodging near the ski resorts.

    The weather reporting for Mt. Hood is a must; it's the only way to make the lemonade. I do appreciate the recent more honest snow report conditions now that the holidays are behind us.
    Everyone pray for colder weather and real power ---- not the heavy wet snow Hood is known for.

  9. Sal

    October 3, 2011

    When will the winter season start this year?

    Meadows: At her own prerogative =0} The past two seasons we've enjoyed early openings - November 20 and November 11 respectively. It's common to be open, at least on a limited basis, by Thanksgiving, hopefully, sooner!

  10. Steffi

    November 19, 2012

    What does the base need to be to open??

    Meadows: Oh, about 33". We'll be opening Thanksgiving day!

  11. Virginia

    February 11, 2013

    HOW LONG DOES THE SEASON USUALLY LAST....

    Meadows: Lifts are scheduled to operate daily through Sunday, April 28. So we have well over two months remaining. March and April can present some of the best skiing of the season - so we'll see you on the mountain!

  12. JoMo

    January 10, 2014

    I love the creative reporting every day. I'm always learning new words like Sastrugi, Off-Piste, Telemetry etc.. You always tell it like it is, but always put some sort of positive spin on it (hey, we can't blame anyone for that)!

    I also appreciate the use of 3rd party weather stations and up to the minute reporting on wind and temperature.

    I'd love to know how you report / calculate the fresh snow 12 & 24 totals? Do you use telemetry for that as well? Sometimes the feed goes bonkers. For instance on 1/9/2014, it went from 5 at 20:00 to 25 at 21:00 to 5 again at 22:00...

    Or do you just look at a yardstick outside?

    Meadows: Great questions! We use the NWAC telemetry located near the bottom of Mt. Hood Express for our official reporting. Each morning our snow safety team records the new snow reading, and then tips the collection pan (which is why you see the reading 00 out at 5 AM each morning). The 24 hour is easy to calculate since the telemetry lists the activity over the previous 24 hours. To calculate the 12 hour total we simply count backwords the previous 12 hours and subtract that total snow report reading from the current reading. So if at Noon we have 12" of new snow in the past 24 hours, with a snow depth of 44", we take a look at the reading at midnight (let's say it was 38") and report 6 new in the previous 12 hours.
    We have also added a midway stake at the 6250 foot level near Roach Bowl to get a mid mountain reading.
    By the way - over time you will see the total accumulation settle as the weight of the snow, wind pressure, precipitation, etc, presses it down. We could lose up to 50% of the snowpack over a week, just from this compression (without it melting). Snow science is fun!

  13. Tim

    February 18, 2014

    Why does the base and mid snow depth keep going down and up over the past couple of days if there has been more snow coming?

    Meadows: The NWAC telemetry has had some issues - but we are confirming visually. As we receive snow we expect the base numbers to grow, but then it will settle under it's own weight. Keep in mind that snow is largely air, so as the snow sits and heavies up (from wind pressure, moisture or warming temps) it settles, literally squeezing the air out. It isn't surprising to see a loss of 30 - 40% of snow depth following a storm over time. Hopefully it will just keep snowing and the base will keep growing!

  14. John

    March 28, 2014

    When does the season end?

    Meadows: We're open every day through April 27, and then at least the first two weekends of May. There's still a lot left for this season!

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