1 down, 2 to go

Friday, January 20, 2017 at 6:46 am

Summary:

Our first weak system has now moved out of the area after dropping light accumulations up north, with decent accumulations for southern Utah.  The next storm moves in tonight and last through Saturday morning with additional modest accumulations.  A potentially stronger storm is on tap for late Sunday thru Tuesday.

Details:

Yesterday’s system has pushed east of the region.  The forecast was for 3-6″ with chance for more in places.  We ended up seeing 2-5″ in Northern Utah.  As expected, it was southern Utah that did the best with Eagle Point and Brian Head reporting 12 and 13 inches respectively.  Interestingly, while it was spitting light rain in the Salt Lake Valley yesterday, the northern portions of Utah County was seeing heavy snow all morning long.  Interesting little microclimates at play on the south side of Traverse Mountain.

The next storm in our ‘weak, weak, strong’ cadence will move in this evening and last through much of the day tomorrow.  This system isn’t carrying a ton of moisture or energy, as much of that is sliding south.  But, we should see snowfall lift into the region in a southwest flow tonight.  After the cold front moves through early tomorrow, the flow will switch to NW.  That means the southwesterly flow resorts could do well tonight (Sundance, Deer Valley, Brighton, etc), then Cottonwoods could do okay tomorrow.  Again, not huge accumulations. Likely in the 4-8″ range for most areas in Northern Utah.  Perhaps 6-12″ for Southern Utah mountains by the end of the day Saturday.  Saturday should be at least a halfway decent powder day across most of the state.

The final storm in the series looks to be the strongest still.  This one will push in late Sunday into Monday, perhaps lingering into at least Tuesday.  Again, this storm will feature a distinct SW flow ahead of the front, then a long period of unstable northwest flow behind the front.  There should be plenty of moisture to work with this time as well.  Right now, I think 1-2 feet is likely with this storm, but we’ll have to keep watching to make sure it doesn’t split and slide south like we’re seeing with its predecessors.  Both Monday and Tuesday look to be good powder days!

Graphically, you can see the the 12km NAM is very optimistic with this second storm for our area:

Univ of Utah

I’m going to err on the conservative side for now, but it does look like we’ll have a good chance for a bit of deeper powder early next week.

The other good news is that we’ll have cold temperatures in the wake of this system, so the snow should stay in great shape through most of next week.

Long Range:

Ridge still looks to build into the region by Wednesday (1/25) although temperatures will remain cold, at least initially, which will keep snow in good shape.  This ridge will remain fairly strong for at least a week.  Here is a look at it on Jan 31:

All of the western U.S. is under the influence of high pressure.  The good news, however, is that long range ensembles are in good agreement now that the ridge will get pushed east and a trough will form along the west coast during the first few days of February.  You can see the same heights forecast for Feb 4:

What does this mean? Well, hopefully it means that stormy weather will return to the return at some point during the first week of February.  Still too early to know any details though.

WSF

P.S.  I’ve been getting a lot of comments from people disappointed that after all the snow we’ve been getting, their trip is coinciding with a period of ridging.  If you’re in that boat, you may want to consider doing an unforgettable day of cat skiing at Whisper Ridge.  The cool temperatures later next week will keep all the fresh snow in perfect condition.  I’m planning to do a day of a cat skiing up there later next week so maybe I’ll see you there!  If you want to read more about my experience last month at Whisper Ridge, you can do so HERE.

 





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