Another dud of a storm . . . March outlook (Wednesday AM update)

Monday, March 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

Sometimes weather makes you look foolish! Today’s one of those days.  As you can read below, we were skeptical heading into this storm and had therefore downgraded the snow amount to just “a few quick inches” yesterday morning. However, after seeing the radar returns and looking at the 18z guidance from yesterday.  It looked like 5-10″ would be imminent.  Unfortunately, everything went straight south last night.  To demonstrate how close we were to a decent storm, all you have to do is look at the storm reports on the NWS website: The west side of the SLC valley got 6+ inches of snow with 6-12 in the Tooele Valley, but just 10-20 miles to the east in the Wasatch, just a trace to 2 inches fell overnight.  It was never going to be a big storm anyway, but it’s still disappointing to forecast snow and have almost NONE fall.

Tuesday AM update:

Models continued the trend of backing off on QPF for the area with this evenings system… expect a few quick inches with front passage and not much more.

Good news is that all global models indicate a possibility of more systems later next week.  Stay tuned . . .

Monday PM update:

Man, was it warm up there today or what? A taste of spring skiing as the official start to Spring looms only a couple weeks away.  Latest runs of the NAM and GFS have backed off slightly on QPF for the Wasatch with the bulk of moisture and best dynamics missing us to the west in Eastern Nevada and then dropping south and passing through Southern Utah.  Not seeing quite as much snow as I was yesterday for the Wasatch so will drop snow expectations to 3-7″ in the Cottonwoods with 2-4″ at PC resorts.  Precipitation will mostly be confined to the frontal passage Tuesday afternoon/evening with only light showers in the post-frontal air mass.

Previous discussion:

Here we are on Monday, enjoying the warm weather that was well advertised last week.  That storm on Tuesday, however, is still in the cards so don’t get too comfortable.  Strong cold front will move toward northern Utah tomorrow morning.  Gusty Southerly winds will pick up ahead of the front at all elevations.  Front will drop through far northern Utah during the afternoon and SLC area during the evening commute.  Snow levels will quickly drop to valley floors.  The fast-moving nature of the front is going to limit precipitation in the Wasatch.  Light to Moderate amounts still look likely.  My guess is 5-10″ in the Cottonwoods, 3-6″ at Park City resorts and far northern Wasatch (PowMow, Snowbasin) with an inch or two in the SLC valley.

The low pressure center will then meander south and eventually east across far southern Utah.  Southern mountains may see hefty snowfall totals.  A few snow showers will linger in the Wasatch overnight Tuesday and during the day Wednesday before the ridge takes control again.  This ridge will warm us up to well above average temps and mostly sunny skies through at least the weekend.

Starting late Sunday into the beginning of next week, Pacific systems will once again try to work their way onto the west coast toward Utah.  The big question right now is how will the ridge react to these systems, its looking likely right now that by Tuesday/Wednesday, March 13-14 systems will force there way into the Pacific Northwest and northern California.  The ridge is going to want to shear the systems apart and force them north of Utah as they move inland.  It is possible that the ridge will slowly progress east by late next week, allowing for the systems to make it to Utah with more snow.  Because of this, I expect us to stay relatively dry from March 8 – March 14 with a possibility for storms to return to the area around mid-month and continue for a week or so at the least. This isn’t to say that we won’t have a chance for light snow from time to time before mid-month, but major systems look unlikely.  Right now a combination of the CFS and teleconnection forecasts are leaning me toward a dryer outlook for the last week of March.  Of course this is all speculation, and things can change.  It’s just fun to look far out, make a forecast, and see if it pans out.

Overall, March has so far had a decent storm to begin the month, and we will get another smaller one tomorrow.  With a potential wetter pattern developing again by mid-month, my best estimate is about an average month snow-wise.


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  • skijane

    How do you see March 18-21 shaping up? Is that in the window of potential mid month storms?

    • It’s a long way away, but there is definitely potential for a storm or two during that window. Keep following the site and we’ll keep you informed as we get closer.


  • Just looking at other weather websites; looks like they’re predicting a slightly larger storm than this morning in park city resorts and cottonwood. What do you think? Any changing patterns?

    • Storm is definitely looking better than it was this morning for snow in the Wasatch and especially the valleys. Unfortunately wasn’t near a computer all afternoon to update the site, so you were ahead of us on that one, Matthew.