It’s all happening . . .

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

Friday 10 pm:

Fast-moving wave now mostly through the area. Precip fell hard for a couple hours but didn’t last all that long so it looks like 2-5″ fell across the mountains. A few scattered showers could add an inch or two overnight. As expected, areas toward the Idaho border did better with this wave. Hopefully Sunday night’s wave will stick around a little longer. More tomorrow . . .

Friday PM update:

Not much has changed since this morning, but I know some of you start tweaking if you go more than 12 hours without a snow forecast fix. So I’ll just say that everything is still on track for 4-8″ in the Wasatch north of I-80 and the Cottonwoods tonight. PC probably will be in the 2-6″ range due to slightly lower elevations and the fact that open waves like this lack dynamics and rely on lift to generate snow. Park City isn’t topographically favorable for this lift.

Another 4-8″ possible on Sunday night with the final wave from this system… Brings storm totals to 6-16″!

Another storm is looking likely for late Wednesday-Thursday of next week. Still lots of questions as to how strong it will be but another moderate snowfall looks possible. That system will also be colder with lower snow levels.

Great news all around! Update in the A.M.


Friday AM update:

Good news, bad news scenario today. First the good news.

System moving approaching the area today has been looking better. NAM would suggest that while snow levels will be high, 4-8″ could be possible in the Wasatch, especially in areas north of I-80. Areas south of the interstate like PC and the Cottonwoods are on the fringes of the good snowfall so they could get in on the action but they also run the risk of being missed almost completely. Given the shear amount of moisture associated with the system, I’d guess they are likely to at least get 3-5″ if not more. It will be wet snow as well so good for base building.

We’ve spoken about the atmospheric river that was scheduled to pound Northern and Central California. They are currently under the gun right now. Here is the radar right now (9 AM MST, Friday) of California:

California Radar

California Radar

As you can see, the river is pounding the Central Sierra Nevada… Heavy precip extends from Western Nevada through the Central Valley, Bay Area, and out hundreds of miles into the Pacific. It’s nearly stationary and just hosing the same areas. Been checking some of the weather stations in the Western Sierra and many locations have already seen 5+ inches of rain since yesterday. And this isn’t even the strongest of the three systems . . . Flooding likely for them this weekend.

It’s very unscientific, but when there is this much moisture involved, I have a theory that the models have a tendency to under-do precip for Utah. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a bit more snowfall than expected tonight. Let’s hope I’m right. It sure would be nice to wake up to a good amount of new snow wouldn’t it.

The next system is the bad news… For several days this was looking like by far the strongest system for us in Utah. But the last few runs have trended stronger with tonight’s storm but weaker with Sunday night’s system. I still think it will be slightly better than tonight’s system, but instead of 6-12″, I think 4-8″ is more likely for Monday morning.

So instead of getting one system with 1-3″ and a second system with 6-12″ inches. It looks like two systems of 4-8″. A little bit of basic math tells us that this is a good thing. But it might not make for as good of a powder day on Monday.

Looking beyond Monday, we will dry out for a couple days before another system affects Northern Utah late Wednesday-Thursday. This doesn’t look like a major system but a reasonable shot at more snow. GFS is trying to build a ridge in the Eastern Pacific that would allow cold air and several systems to drop into the area. This will make for great skiing but this type of pattern usually means smaller storms. We’ll see how that evolves over the next week.


Previous . . .

Thursday PM:

Second of three waves still scheduled to move through tomorrow night with high elevation snowfall likely above 7,000 feet. Still only expect a few inches with the best accumulations near the Idaho border. Third and final wave has now been trending weaker over the last few runs for Sunday night. Still think 6-12″ is possible, but might have to consider downgrading that if this trend continues. More info tomorrow morning . . .

Previous . . .

What a difference a few days makes… Just a few days ago it was looking like most of the the precipitation would stay to our north for the entire storm cycle. Now, it looks like we’ll see at least a couple inches of snow, mainly north of I-80 on Friday night and then 6-12″ on Sunday night into Monday. The long range is looking glorious, with both the Euro and GFS now showing another system on this one’s heels moving in Thursday of next week with more snow. Beyond that is fantasy land and almost impossible to forecast, but the GFS wants to keep bringing in system after system through the middle of the month. Could be a fun December if it works out that way!

Last night we had the first wave graze us to our north and as expected, aside from a few showers along the Idaho border, all we saw was clouds and some wind. We’ll clear up a bit later today but not much as it’s a pretty constant moist flow so clouds will stick around. Tomorrow winds will be on the increase again ahead of the second wave that will move through overnight. This will again favor areas to the north but the Wasatch could see a few inches of snow above 7,500 ft. Snow levels will be at 7,000 ft or higher with this wave. Saturday thru Sunday morning will be a break in the action before the final, strongest wave moves into the area.

This final system will bring rain and snow to most of Utah mainly Sunday night. The GFS was the stronger of the two models yesterday, but today’s runs have flipped with the EC. Now the ECMWF is showing a more potent system. GFS supports 4-8″ of snow while the Euro paints 8-16″. Went with a conservative blend of the two for now and feel 6-12″ is safe for now, but if trend moves toward Euro, we might have to bump that up. Monday still looking like it could be a fun powder day. The one concern is that pre-frontal winds on Sunday will be extremely strong so if they continue strong along the front when the snow is falling, we might end up with some wind-packed powder. Let’s hope the winds die down as the front moves through.

Monday we’ll clear out and hopefully enjoy the fresh snow. Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll ridge up before another trough tries to drop down into the area on Thursday and Friday of next week. More snow? Yes, please. Looking at the uber-long range, as mentioned before, shows a ridge off the west coast which allow systems to drop into the Great Basin from the northwest. This would mean more snow for Utah with a new storm every 2-3 days or so. Let’s hope this scenario plays out.

So for those of you that were afraid this would be a repeat of last December where we saw virtually no snow for the entire month . . . Put your fears at ease. Things are looking up!


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  • Steve

    Not thrilled with the GFS in short term, but doesn’t look too bad in longer term. But it does seem all over the place out past 7 days or so. It seems every run is different.