(Saturday AM update) Winter storm to affect all of Utah this weekend

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 11:58 am

Sunday AM update:

Heavy band set up for much of the night in the Wasatch with south facing slopes benefiting the most from the southerly flow.  Local areas reporting 8-12+” of new snow.  Guessing based on temperature profiles that the snow is fairly dense so a good workout is in store for today.  Should continue snowing for most of the day with breaks in the action possible at times.  Snow levels will drop throughout the day. Things are all looking good!

Saturday AM update:

Again, not much change to the forecast…. looking at 12z guidance packages from various models, it looks like the front passing through tonight will be even weaker for northern Utah than expected, so 3-6″ is all I would expect from it.

Very tricky forecast and we’re not feeling as comfortable with snow amounts as we have been in the past. We expressed these concerns in a previous post with relying on post-frontal dynamics and instability.  NWS is saying 1-2+ feet in the upper elevations by Monday night… 1-2′ was our original forecast but with the slightly weaker front tonight… feel like 10-20″ is a better bet.  Will make mention that there is the possibility for more than that if everything goes right for us… but how often has that happened this season?

This is how I get those numbers dividing the storm into five 12-hour periods:

  • Tonight: 3-6″
  • Tomorrow: 2-5″
  • Sunday night: 3-8″
  • Monday: 1-3″
  • Monday night: trace-2″
  • Total:  10-24″
*This total is for the Cottonwoods specifically…. Park City, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain will likely see slightly less (8-16″)

Previous discussion:

Not much has changed over the last few days with regard to the incoming storm… Still expecting a long-duration event with significant snow over all Utah mountains.

Tonight (Friday night) and Saturday should feature lots of wind as the pre-frontal southerly flow continues to pull warm air into the area.  A few warm advection showers could be possible this afternoon and this evening with snow levels up near 9,000 ft.  Main front approaches during the day tomorrow with rain and snow showers developing in the mountains as the day wears on.  Expect snow levels could be above bases of some resorts until front passage tomorrow evening.  These snow levels will drop Saturday night with frontal passage.

Snow will really begin Saturday night for the northern half of the state and early Sunday morning for the southern half.  Best frontal dynamics will be well south of the Wasatch so I don’t expect snow amounts to be too impressive Saturday night.  4-8″ for the Cottonwoods…. most of the precipitation for the Wasatch will fall in the post-frontal instability and embedded waves Sunday-Monday night.

Questions of timing remain so decided to just broadbrush snow amounts as per the following for Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons (slightly lesser amounts for Park City resorts/Snowbasin/PowMow):

Saturday night 4-8″ , Sunday 3-6″, Sunday night 2-4″, Monday 2-4″, Monday night 1-3″

Totaling that up we can expect 12-24″ over the course of 60 hours beginning 5 pm Saturday.  Of course there will certainly be waves of heavier showers and lulls in between, so it could end up that one period sees less than expected while another sees more.

Snow levels will also fall to SLC valley floors during the day on Sunday but little in the way of accumulation is expected with just a few inches on the benches.

After clearing out on Tuesday, we’ll warm right back up for a few day before another system potentially affects the area next weekend.

Stay tuned . . .


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11 thoughts on “(Saturday AM update) Winter storm to affect all of Utah this weekend

    1. wasatchsnowcast

      I have a tendency to trust the NAM in the short range. Which makes sense considering it’s a short-range model. Right now I think the NAM handles the orographic precip Sunday-Monday better than the GFS

  1. Nick Somers

    Where u think the place is to ski tomorrow? My options are PCMR, Basin, or solitude/Brighton?

    1. wasatchsnowcast

      Basin isn’t getting in on the same snow band that is hitting PC and the Cottonwoods right now so they may have a little less snow in the morning… I’d do Soli or Brighton since they have a bit more good powder steeps than Park City.

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