Information overload

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 9:11 am

Friday PM update:

Snow now filling in throughout the Wasatch at 4 PM on Friday, primarily south of I-80. This should continue to pick up this evening and continue through tomorrow morning. Here’s the latest as to what to expect tonight and over the next few days.

1. Friday night-Saturday — This system is associated with low pressure passing to our south. Models depict decent precipitation developing this evening and continuing through tonight. This system will favor the Southern Wasatch. NWS has already hoisted and Winter Weather Advisory calling for 6-12″ in the mountains south of I-80. We are not feeling comfortable forecasting quite that much and think 5-10″ south of I-80 is more likely but the NWS’s forecast does suggest that there is a possibility for more. Immediately north of I-80, you can expect 3-6″ above 6,000 ft with just a couple inches at best as you get close to the Idaho border. We should clear out Saturday morning for a brief break.

2. Sunday/Sunday night — this system looked really good about four days ago but has been trending weaker. Latest models have been keeping this as mostly a warm advection precipitation event without an associated frontal boundary crossing the area. This time the northern mountains will be favored. We expect 4-8″ north of I-80 with 2-6″ south of I-80. We’ll need to keep a close eye on this as just a small change in the models could mean a significant change in the forecasted amounts.

3. Tuesday-Wednesday — all models agree this is the strongest in the series and overall model agreement is good. A strong cold front will pass through the area late Tuesday night and will bring widespread snow to all elevations. Amounts are still uncertain but 1-2 feet at area ski resorts is certainly possible. Lake effect may also be a factor, currently models suggest this developing south-southeast of the lake over the Salt Lake Valley… if it develops farther east it could be a factor for the Cottonwoods and Park City.

4. Storm #4 — This system is now all but dead in the models… GFS and EC both agree that it will remain well off shore through at least next weekend. Eventually it will move inland sometime around Christmas but there are way too many questions to try to forecast anything now. We’ll likely have at least 4 or 5 day break in the weather leading up to Christmas day.

So a great forecast with snow for all of Utah except for the lowest elevations at some point in the next 5 days. Wasatch mountains should see totals of 1-3 feet by Thursday of next week.. The timing of these systems should allow for several good powder days: Saturday should be great especially for the Southern Wasatch! Sunday will see more snow throughout the day mostly in the Northern Wasatch. Monday will have fresh snow on the ground. Tuesday should see increasing snow throughout the day and Wednesday could be the grande finale with a deep powder day possible.

Here is a depiction of total GFS predicted precip over the next 7 days for the Western U.S. — the light blue over northern Utah suggests good amounts of snow.


Stoke levels are high! Stay tuned . . .

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  • Wright D

    Long way out, but GFS has been trending towards a deeper ridge before Xmas, and doesn’t even bring the trough through till after Christmas…

  • Tim

    Snowbasin & Powder are feeling neglected! Hopefully one of these four is a big hit up in the Ogden area.

    • Tim, they might not see as much in this first system but they should do well in the next two!

  • Kevin

    I am heading out there for Christmas week from Ohio. Am very excited. When you refer to “northern wasatch” and “southern wasatch”, which specific ski areas are you referring to? I am sure all the locals on this site will think I am some rockhead from Ohio, but what the heck!! By the way, this is probably the most useful sites I have ever used. Much appreciated!!!

    • Great question… there isn’t any right or wrong answer and a lot of it depends on your perception. For me, I consider Southern Wasatch to be anything south of Interstate 80, so the Cottonwoods and Park City all the way down to the mountains south of Provo. Northern Wasatch usually means north of the interstate, so Snowbasin, Powder Mtn, Wolf Creek and up to the Idaho border. Hope you have a fun trip! Thank you for the kind words.