GFS has really moved in the direction of the ECMWF… it is now showing a decent snowfall for the Wasatch and surrounding valleys on Wednesday night/Thursday. The problem right now is that there is still plenty of time for the models to change their mind, and even if they do verify and the system comes in as currently expected, these type of systems dropping down the east side of the Pacific Ridge have proven to be disappointing all winter long.
My current thinking is that the Cottonwoods may see 5-10″ inches of snow, with 3-6″ at Park City resorts. With a couple inches possible in the SLC area. This is a conservative early estimate if things go according to plan. If the system splits, we will likely see less. If everything goes as planned, we could see more.
Previous discussions . . .
Quick Saturday (12/17) update: GFS has abandoned idea of precip for later this week but ECMWF has been consistent in bringing light snow amounts to the Wasatch. Could go either way so we’ll have to wait to see if the GFS jumps on board with the ECMWF or vice versa. This may be our last shot at getting fresh snow before Christmas.
Things are looking brighter for a more active pattern developing as we get close to the New Year. More info later . . .
Lately it’s been difficult for us at WSF to post updates daily because there hasn’t been much in the way of good news on the snow front. Today I can at least say that there is a glimmer of hope for some more snow next week.
Eastern Pacific ridge that looked like it was going to break down last week has firmly re-established itself. Systems have been splitting all season as they push toward the west coast. The southern cut-off lows drop south into Southern California or Baja, then ejects through the Desert SW. We have seen most of our limited amounts of snow when the northern stream of the jet drops south down the east side of the ridge. Lately, all of the energy seems to drop too far west for us to get much precip.
The bad news is there is still no end in sight to the eastern pacific ridge in the next 7-10 days. The good news, however, is that the models have been suggesting that it will be positioned a little farther east than it has been lately. This means that the brunt of these dry, fast-moving storms will shift closer to the Wasatch. The first piece of energy will pass through on Monday with on a chance for very light snow. Don’t expect much in the way of accumulation. The better chance for accumulating snowfall arrives late Wednesday into Thursday, when a better organized front looks to drop into the area. This pattern is practically identical to that which brought us most of the limited snow we currently have —way back in November. Those storms had a tendency to drop less snow than we anticipated due to there limited moisture and fast-moving nature. We expect some of the same with this system. Confidence this far out with this complex of a pattern is low. Even if things pan out as some of the models suggest, I would only expect moderate accumulations (6-12 inches) in the Cottonwoods. Sounds like a huge dump relative to what we’ve seen over the last 3-4 weeks, eh?
Low confidence + relatively dry, fast-moving storm = glimmer of hope
Stay tuned. . ..
…The Powder Hound…