Waiting game . . .

Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

7:30 PM…. Precipitation has not developed as we hoped south of I-80. With so little dynamics involved in this system, we were hoping the moist atmosphere would somewhat compensate, but it seems like even the best moisture is now north of The Cottonwoods and Park City so it’s doubtful that we will see more than a few inches tonight in these locations. Powder Mountain and Snowbasin should do at least a little better with heavy showers currently occurring in those areas.

Sunday 2 pm update:

We were able to get up for first tracks this morning and while there was only about 1″ of fresh snow at the base, once you got to mid-mountain there was about 5″ of heavy, wet cement. Brought back memories of my days growing up skiing Tahoe. This type of snow might not be the best for skiing, but it certainly is good for filling in the gaps and building a base. It’s also good for reminding you just how out of shape your quads are!

As of 2 PM mst, we are seeing the moist flow really starting to pick up again with lift generating precip up and down the Wasatch. Rain is now falling in parts of the SLC valley with snow falling above 7,500 ft. We expect this trend to continue through the rest of the afternoon into the evening with periods of heavy snow developing in the high elevations. Still think 4-8″ is likely with the highest amounts likely in the far northern Wasatch and in orographically favored areas in this westerly flow (i.e. The cottonwoods) by tomorrow morning.

In other news, we’ve mentioned that there may be a chance for a system around the 26th or 27th of November…. That idea is starting to show up in both the EC and the GFS so we’ll have to keep an eye on that. We’ll do a full storm recap and long-range outlook tomorrow!


Sunday AM update:

Snow will be on the increase this afternoon as one final wave moves into the area. This will primarily affect northern Utah and will be the strongest wave so far. We’ve seen 3-8″ in the Wasatch above 7,000 ft over the last two days with the previous weaker waves. Good moisture and decent lift should double those totals with 4-8″ above 8,000 ft. This seems reasonable based on the .5-1″ of QPF generated in the models at 8:1 ratios. The farther north you are the more likely you are to see decent snow. Snowbasin and PowMow could see the highest totals. The Cottonwoods should do alright as well with good orographic help in this westerly flow. PC might fall a little shy of their neighbors and might only see a few inches. Snow levels will be high at about 7,500 ft so it will be very wet snow for all resorts. If you’re on the hill today, it might be a Gore-tex day with such water-logged snowflakes. Tomorrow we clear out with systems grazing far northern Utah at times through the rest of the week. It doesn’t looks like anything major until at least Nove 26 or so.


Saturday PM update:

Models have been looking better today for the wave moving in tomorrow. Lots of moisture to work with as it has a nice sub-tropical tap. Mountains had a decent little wave move through this afternoon and drop a few inches in the Cottonwoods. We should see a few more showers this evening before clearing out for the better part of the night. Tomorrow we should see an increase in snow throughout the day. My current thinking is that we’ll have peak intensity snow will frontal passage during the afternoon hours. Total accumulations are difficult to predict with this type of open wave–but 3-6″ above 7,000 ft seems reasonable and it is possible that we could see more than that with the abundance of moisture this system seems to have tapped.

We’ll clear out on Monday before another system passes just to our north around mid-week. Don’t expect much from this other than a slight chance for showers in far northern Utah and an increase in clouds. After Thanksgiving the models seem to have settled on a drier pattern with amplification of the ridge over the Western U.S. Still too early to look beyond next weekend but CFSv2 continues to try to bring more storms into the West Coast and a negative PNA supports that idea. We’ll just have to wait for these systems to show up in the models. No need to get discouraged… We still have had a great start to the season for most of the Wasatch and the Pacific is active so it’s just a matter of time in our opinion before another storm cycle develops.


Saturday AM update:

Continued moist, mild flow into the area will keep clouds around with the threat of occasional valley rain showers and mountain snow showers. One wave Saturday afternoon will fire off more showers, but the strongest wave on Sunday has the potential to bring a few inches of snow above 8,000 ft. After that we’ll clear out on Monday – Wednesday with no real threat for precip through the Thanksgiving holiday and the subsequent weekend. Next chance for a significant storm will likely be the week after Thanksgiving (Nov 27-30).

Friday Update:

Moist zonal flow through the weekend will keep a chance for snow showers going for much of the weekend as waves periodically move across the area. Mild nature of this zonal flow with subtropical moisture tap will keep snow levels well above valleys. Our best chances for showers will be tonight (Friday) with just a dusting to an inch or two above 8,000 ft. and again Saturday night into Sunday. This second wave will have a bit more moisture and be a bit deeper so a few inches from that wave is definitely possible.

We continue to be brushed by systems passing to our north right on through next week with mild temps in Utah. After Thanksgiving, models have struggled with the overall pattern. We’ll let them sort out their issues before tackling that. No major storms in sight but hopefully that will change.



Another day, another ski area opening! Snowbird joins Brighton and Solitude on the list of resorts open for the 2012/13 season. Weather-wise, a dirty ridge remains in place with periodic cloudiness and even a few light showers in the far north of Utah. Waves of moisture will move through the area over the coming days bringing an increase in clouds and a chance for light valley rain showers and mountain snow showers. Timing these waves is tough, but it looks like the first wave of note will move in tomorrow (Friday night). Very limited moisture and dynamics to work with–only expect a dusting for Wasatch. The next wave will have a bit more moisture to work with but is still far from impressive. It looks to move in late Saturday night or Sunday morning. An few inches may be possible above 8,000 ft.

Next week it looks like more of the same, the Pacific Northwest will be hammered by a Low stalling off the BC coast sending in impulse after impulse. Unfortunately, the ridge will be strong enough to force almost all moisture to our North through the Thanksgiving holiday. We can expect temperatures near or slightly above normal throughout the period.

The next chance for a more significant snowfall is the Weekend following the holiday (Nov 23-25). Models have not even come close to locking in on a solution so this is very much just a chance, but of course it is something to keep an eye on. We’ll keep you posted.


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