Watching closely . . . (Saturday AM update)

Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Saturday AM update:

Figured we’re close enough now to the onset of snowfall that I would map out at least the timing and significance of each impulse we have coming in… Of course, these are all preliminary estimates and are subject to change.

Monday Morning:  Cold, quick moving system gets us started. Could affect morning commutes for those unfortunate enough to have to work.  Snow levels are not an issue given its cold nature.  Accumulation 3-6″ mountains, Trace-2″ Valleys.

Wednesday-Thursday AM: First warm impulse will move into the area, bulk of precip will stay to our north.  Snow levels 7,000-7,500 feet.  Accumulation above 7,500 ft., 4-8″

Friday evening-Saturday AM: Stronger, but still fairly warm impulse will enter the region.  Snow levels 6,500-7,000 feet.  Accumulation above 7,000 ft, 8-16″.

Sunday PM-Monday: Another fairly strong impulse, will move through, looks a bit colder at this time.  Snow levels 4,500 – 5,500 feet.  Accumulation above 6,500 feet, 8-16″.

More systems possible beyond this . . .

Remember, these are all preliminary estimates and chances are these totals and timing will change as we get closer.  Just trying to give everybody an idea of what to expect.   If you add the totals up for these four separate impulses, you’d find that I’m expecting 2-4 feet total over the next ten days.  Not too shabby….

Previous discussion . . .

Friday PM Update:

Just a quick update tonight . . . The GFS Model, which was showing the bulk of precip moving well north of the area, has now come more in line other global models for a couple consecutive runs now.  Good news for us.  Confidence continues to grow that this pattern will bring us the copious snow amounts we’ve been waiting for. Storm Monday morning looks to drop a quick few inches in the mountains.  Main benefit of this quick-moving, moisture starved system is to open the door for more potent energy later next week.  This is a cold storm so snow levels won’t be an issue…

A warm, moist westerly flow will then set up by Wednesday with embedded impulses moving through.  The cold air will remain to our north for the first several days and snow levels will rise to around 7,000 feet or higher.  We are basically looking at a train of impulses moving into the west through at least the 25th or so of January.  All models are in general agreement and the question now is just how much precip can we expect and when will colder air move in to give us the light, fluffy snow we’re all used to.

At this time, I would say it’s safe to say we’ll see at least a foot of wet snow at area resorts between Wednesday and Friday night (probably more).  With more snow expected next Saturday and beyond. This wet snow will fall on a very weak base and avalanche danger is going to be extreme until the snow settles and we get some lighter snow on top.  BE CAREFUL! On the other hand, this is the heavy, wet base that ski resorts love.

Whose stoke meter is through the roof right now?

Stay tuned . . .

Previous discussion:

I’ve been very closely watching each model run of all the Global Models trying to get a better feel for the upcoming pattern change…

…and the results.

Basically we have good news and bad news.  The good news that is that every major model is still depicting a major change and are generally similar on big picture details.  The bad news is that a couple of the models have at times been showing the storms going mostly to our north… at least initially.

A cold, fast-moving trough is going to drop through the area late Sunday night into Monday morning.  What this is going to mean is the mountains will likely see anywhere from 2-6 inches of snow (possibly more).  The valleys will also likely see at least a bit of snow Monday morning that could affect your commute if you don’t have the day off.  Monday will be a cold day to be up on the hill, but you will likely be warming yourself up by scorching fresh tracks in at least a few inches of new snow.

After Monday, we clear out a bit with a warmer westerly flow developing.  Moisture that is undercutting the North Pacific High will get hosed into the Pacific NW on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Both days we will be on the southern edge of the main precip bands.  Just a short distance can make a world of difference in these type of patterns and areas 60-100 miles North of SLC could see significantly more snow and cooler temps than SLC resorts.  Any sagging south of the jet stream would mean more snow for us.  Conversely, a more northern track could mean little snow for us.  In the last few runs, the GFS has trended a tiny bit farther north for our precip.

This is the image I posted yesterday of the total QPF for the next 15 days in the GFS…

This is the same time frame but from this afternoon’s 18z GFS run…

As you can see, the GFS has backed off considerably on precipitation amounts for Northern Utah.  Sending the bulk of it north into Oregon, Washington, and BC. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should all curse our rotten luck and head for the closest bridge to jump off.  It is just a few runs of one model.  The GFS is northern-most model right now.  Both the GEM and the EC are favoring the jet to sag south as we head toward the end of next week and stay there until the end of the month.

Yesterday, I made a mistake of mentioning the possibility of several feet of snow.  And of course everybody went nuts with excitement despite my fervent disclaimer that it was just a possibility and it was spread over a period of about 8-10 days, not all in one storm.  Remember, we are transitioning to a new pattern and very seldom do we go from an historically dry pattern to epic snowfall in the space of a few days.  This is going to take a week or so to really get revved up and I ask that we all exercise patience.  This is good news no matter how you spin it because at the moment even a little bit of snow is good news and we are guaranteed to get that.

I’ll continue watching and keeping you all up-to-date… You keep the positive thoughts flowing, but without jinxing us by getting too excited just yet.  Deal?

Stay tuned…


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  • Darin

    Hey I have been reading your blog for the past month and sounds like we might be in for a change, NWS SLC had rain for the valleys in the extended, will that be the case if this all comes together ?

    • Yes, the system on Monday Morning will be snow in the valleys and the mountains, but the moisture that is headed toward us for Wednesday-Saturday is of a much warmer nature and the valleys will likely see mostly rain for at least the first few days.

  • Brian

    as if i didnt read this enough before, now that our fate swings back and forth with each re-run of each model, i think i checked this page for an update 50 times today. if weather forecast rehab exists anywhere, im a good candidate

    • Brian, I know the feeling… I’d say our fate is pretty safe, it’s just one outlying model that was giving us fits yesterday. I feel confident in our chances and if you look, so does the NWS. And they are usually the most conservative of all weather forecasters….

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