West Coast bracing for impact . . .

Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

An impressive forecast for the West Coast of the US as a barrage of systems take aim.  A series of low pressure systems will drop down into the Gulf of AK over the next week, these systems will park themselves off the Pacific NW coast and send in a train of moisture onto the coast from BC all the way down to Northern California.  The high elevations of Tahoe are going to get hammered with 6-10+ feet of snow now through next Sunday with more snow possible beyond that.  If you want bottomless powder and don’t mind higher density snow, head to Squaw or neighboring resorts today as the storms will start rolling in tomorrow.

This is QPF map of expected precip through early Friday morning….

This map projects a 7.2″ bullseye of liquid precip for the Sierra Nevada mountains directly to our west.  Remember two things, that is liquid precip (QPF) not snow, so 7.2″ of QPF at 15:1 ratios in the higher elevations translates to 100+ inches of snow and that is just through Friday morning, with snow likely continuing in Tahoe through at least the day on Saturday.  The only drawback for them is that snow-levels will rise to 7,500 ft. or so for a good portion of the week so Tahoe lake-level won’t see nearly as high of snow totals as the surrounding peaks.

What does this all mean for Utah? Well, as you can see, until the end of this week, our current ridge will force the rain/snow just to our north and leave us with just clouds, occasional light precip, and a lot of gusty southerly winds.  These winds will keep us warm all week.  As we approach the weekend, the West Coast trough will progress and elongate, allowing us some of the goods.  Right now it’s looking like the heavy snow should hold off until Saturday.  And even then, our snow amounts won’t be anywhere close to as impressive as Tahoe’s.  I’m not going to complain as any decent shot at snow is good news for extending the spring ski season.  Also, if you think Utah’s had a bad snow year, then Tahoe’s has been beyond dreadful.  Saw a report a couple days ago that this year has been their second worst on record, only surpassed by the infamous winter of ’76-’77.

But this storm train looks unrelenting and I would expect us to continue to see storms right on through the third and possibly fourth weeks of March.  Miracle March is the term being thrown around the weather/ski community right now…. Let’s hope so!


P.S. If you’re looking for some new equipment, check out our link to Utah Skis, the online ski store,  they are a reputable local store with quality service and ski/snowboard gear and have their Spring Sale going on now.


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  • Nick Somers

    Are we looking at feet or inches in the Wasatch for Saturday thru Wednesday? I’ve got a trip scheduled for those days.

    • I don’t think we’ll be measuring in the feet like Tahoe will be, but I would expect a foot or two total during that time frame at the high elevations of the Wasatch.

  • JasonSedokis

    I’m worried the storm track may dive too far south. Hope not

    • There definitely is that possibility, but I as well am hoping we get a direct hit.

  • Luis Osorio

    I will be traveling to Park City next Sunday 03/18 and I will spending 1 week there. I am coming from the northeast where the ski season as you guys know has been awful. Should I expect some good snow next week or is it going to be icy/smushy conditions like in here???? Thanks.

    • We look like we’ll be getting some fresh snow this weekend. So if you’re coming next week, I bet you have some soft snow to look forward too.

  • JasonSedokis

    Is this storm track bailing on us? I’m getting bad vibes