May showers . . .

Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Wednesday, May 23 update:

Troughing over the West has been developing as expected with snow in the Cascades of Oregon and Washington.  Those cool temps and showers will make their way into Northern Utah this weekend with off and on valley rain showers and high elevation snow showers (above 8K feet) developing.  Several inches will be possible and those willing to hike for the goods will likely be rewarded with a few powder turns.  Warmer and dryer weather will return next week.

Saturday, May 19 Update:

A decent cold front and band of precipitation moved through Northern Utah yesterday morning, dropping some decent rains mostly from SLC north to the Idaho border with even a few inches of snow above 8,000 ft in the Wasatch.  Any body still hiking up for some turns?  It’s been an unusually quiet spring for us.  But we should continue to see a little more activity over the next week than we have been seeing.  Moisture and a weak cold front will again move into the area early next week and bring a chance for rain showers in the valleys and high elevation snow showers in the mountains.  Over the last few days we’ve seen a few models point to a chance for troughing throughout the intermountain west toward the end of May.  That would mean a continuation of showers and maybe even accumulating snow in the mountains.  Anything beyond 5 days is always hard to predict, but particularly in the fickle weather patterns of the Spring.  Again, not sure if snow now is a good thing now that all resorts are closed and most people are biking, hiking, fishing and camping.

No real development in the super-long range over the past week.  It looks like it is going to be a pretty typical summer which will lead into next winter where, at this time, there is nothing to suggest above or below average snowfall.  We’ll keep you posted!



Monday (May 14) Update:

The last few weeks have been extremely quiet.  Usually we see at least one weak system per week through May, or in the case of last year fairly strong systems, but this year we’ve quickly ended winter after the 3rd week of April and it looks like the quiet weather will continue through the rest of May.  At which time, it becomes extremely unlikely that we’ll see anything beyond that. But not out of the question.  Of course, it doesn’t really matter much now as Snowbird was the last to close this past weekend.  Hard to believe that at this time last year we still had two months left of skiing.

We’ll have some moisture working its way into the area at times this week, which will combine with daytime heating to fire up some widely scattered showers and thunderstorms.

ENSO cycle (El Nino/La Nina) forecasts show a weak El Nino to develop this summer but I’m not expecting that to get much stronger by winter, in fact, it’s much more likely that it will dissipate and we’ll have an ENSO-neutral year next year.  History will tell us that after poor snow seasons like this last one, we generally see near average seasons the following year.  It’s still way too early to say anything with any certainty, so we are of course speaking in broad generalities.

Monday AM update (5/7):

Weather has been very spring-like lately.  Not “spring-like” in most people’s definition which is sunshine and flowers, but rather spring-like in terms of it being a transitional season with cool, weaker systems affecting the area.  A weak, but persistent jet has been pushing into the Northern Rockies over the last 7-10 days and we’ve been on the southern edge of the flow.  It has led to the occasional weak cold fronts brushing the area with little in the way of precipitation, mostly just clouds, wind, and cooler temps.  Looking like rising heights will give a bit more sun this week for the last week of skiing at Snowbird.  Last chance to get in some lift-access turns before summer turns on the heat!

Nothing major on the horizon but some moisture will work it’s way into the area later this week and combine with warmer weather to give us instability and a chance for scattered thunderstorms.  ENSO cycle is working its way out of La Niña and into an ENSO-neutral phase.  Still no indications as to what will develop for next winter but our best guess is we may see a weak El Niño.  Still too early to say with any certainty however.

We shall keep you posted.


P.S. Wasatch Snow Forecast would like to extend a “thank you” to all our readers who made our first season a success. Whether you followed us on the site itself or on Facebook, we appreciate the comments, support, and patience when Utah’s tricky weather fools us all.  Please feel free to share any comments or suggestions for the website with us at  Thanks again!

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  • dj f

    great job this past season, I daily, looked forward to reading your postings, I would not hesitate to say that you where pretty much right on. I did look at the nws breifings also,,,and found that your predictions and your way with words gave a better interpretation and explanations to the weather systems that affected different areas. Thus plans and trips to powder mtn and south to sundance and between were successful; and i attribute them to your account.
    i would rather read your breifs than nws on my next flight planning., looking forward to next year.

    • We appreciate the kind words. We look forward to next season as well! Hopefully it will be a little snowier than this last.

  • John Dalessio

    Nice job hope to see you back next season. And remember a bad day at Alta is better than a good day at ” the snow making capitol of the world”… where I mostly ski. 😉