…Moving on (Wednesday AM update)

Monday, February 20, 2012 at 7:34 am

Wednesday PM update:

Not quite coming together as well as hoped… Cottonwoods likely to only see 3-6″ with 2-4″ in Park City and maybe 4-8″ up at PowMow/Snowbasin by tomorrow morning.   Again, these quick moving impulses are hard to get a read on but this is a best guess for now.

Wednesday AM update:

Monday we spoke of the two impulses that would move through in this strong northwest flow during this work week.  The first impulse moved through in two main parts, one early yesterday morning and another during the evening hours.  Snow accumulations varied greatly but overall was in the range we expected.  The cottonwoods saw snow totals around 4-8″, Park City 2-4″, and 6-12″ total in areas farther north near the Idaho border.  We are currently awaiting the arrival of the next impulse.  NWS has hoisted Advisories for all the mountains of Northern Utah and we are expecting snow to develop this afternoon and this evening and continuing overnight.  We’ll expect another 5-10″ in favorable locations with Northwest facing slopes.  3-6″ in high mountain valleys.  The mountains farther north could see close to a foot by tomorrow afternoon if everything goes as planned.  Not too bad.

Questions still remain for this weekend as models have trended a bit farther north with the bulk of precip but a decent snow for all elevations is possible.  Will update tomorrow as we get a clearer picture.


Previous discussion:

Yesterday’s system was a total failure…. We got a couple emails and comments on Thursday/Friday that our forecast was too conservative at 10-18″ and even that was way off target in the end with the Wasatch only getting 3-6″ in the Cottonwoods with only an inch or two in Park City.  Some of the heaviest snow was on the benches of the SLC valley with 5 or 6 inches.  What went wrong? Simple answer: everything.  The primary problem was the track of the system generated more of a northerly flow rather than north-westerly.  Therefore the surface flow was parallel to the mountains and didn’t generate enough lift to bring any significant snow up the canyons to the resorts.

Better now to just sigh, move on, and look forward to some more promising news.  This week will feature a familiar pattern — an East Pacific High will put Northern Utah on the eastern edge with glancing blows as quick-moving, moisture-starved systems drop down into the Northern Rockies.  Utah should see off and on snow in the mountains all week.  The farther north you go, the more snow you are likely to see.  Snowbasin and PowMow may get decent totals.  Down in the SLC area, we can expect anywhere from 6 to 14″ in the Cottonwoods with  lesser amounts in PC between tonight (Monday Night) and late Thursday (Feb 24).  It’s notoriously difficult to time the impulses as they move through the area.  Looks like we’ll have two main impulses, one tonight and tomorrow, and another Wednesday Night into Thursday.  Each impulse will likely drop 3-6″. Snow levels will likely rise to close to 6,000 feet at times.

Friday will be a break as attention turns to a potentially stronger system for the weekend but models still disagree on this feature so we’ll give them some time to work out the details.

Looking at the big picture, all signs continue to point to a potentially wet start to the month of March as MJO is still moving through favorable areas that we haven’t seen it in all year.  Also, PNA is forecasted to go negative in the next week or so… last time the PNA went negative we saw 50+ inches of snow in a week (3rd week of January).  Long-range forecasts continue to show west coast troughing for the first couple weeks of March.  We are now in waiting mode to see how the models handle the potential pattern change as we get within our range of confidence (about 7 days).

Don’t give up on winter yet!


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