Confidence grows in significant snows

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 6:06 am

Thursday AM update:

Everything still on track from yesterday’s discussion. Front looks to start moving through the the Wasatch through the afternoon from north to south. Snow will pick up along the front. Expect the afternoon commute to be a hectic one. Snow will continue, heavy at times tonight both in the valleys and the mountains. Off and on snow will fall into Saturday. Storm total accumulations below still look good. 4-8″ for lower valleys. 6-12″ for benches/mountain valleys. 1-2+ feet for the high Wasatch. Friday is going to be the money day will lots of powder and snow falling all day. Saturday will be great as well! Both days will be COOOOLD, so bundle up… Enjoy!


Magnificent rhyming in the title aside, we are gaining confidence in the storm for Thursday afternoon-Friday night. Not that we didn’t have confidence in at least some snow before, but there were significant differences in timing between the models and still the threat of a splitting system so I was wary of over-forecasting snow totals. However, we have now entered the 36-48 hour window in which I usually feel more comfortable making my snow predictions and today is no exception. We previously forecasted 8-16″ with up to 20″…we are going to nudge that up a bit to 10-18″ with up to 2 feet in places. Now this doesn’t mean that we will definitely see 2 feet in the Cottonwoods or other west/northwest facing slopes, but the potential is there. Valleys will also see snowfall with 3-6″ likely with up to 10″ on the benches and higher amounts possible under a lake effect band if one forms.

Noticed this morning that the NWS is also feeling significantly more confident. Not surprised at all– 00z and 06z runs of the GFS looked great.

Here is a map depicting WRF (another high resolution model) forecasted snowfall for the West:


As you can see, there is a good swath of snow expected for the Wasatch . . . this model does well with orographics, but not great, so I’d expect totals to even be a bit higher in the areas favored by the northwest flow. You can also see a little yellow stripe just southeast of the Great Salt Lake, this is suggesting that lake effect snow will be a possibility. We think that if this occurs, it will likely happen on Friday/Friday night and will affect areas South and Southeast of the lake, including the Salt Lake Valley. We’ll have to keep an eye on this.

Beyond Saturday, there will be a couple more very weak impulses in the northerly flow that will give us a chance at a few more light snow showers, but nothing significant. We will be COLD right through next week and it’s looking like we’ll start to develop more frigid inversions again next week. Still questions as to how long this next dry period will last but to me it looks like our next chance at more snow will be around the 21st of the month when the Eastern Pacific ridge retrogrades a bit again.

Stay tuned!

Friday and Saturday should be awesome (but frigidly cold) powder days — so bundle up and have fun!


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  • peter

    I have to ski Deer Valley on Friday…my understanding is that they usually get less snow…any guess as to how much less is this storm?

    By the way you should check out opensnow, they have a new UT forecaster who appears to have plagiarized today’s forecast verbatim.

    • They do generally get a bit less than the Cottonwoods. For example…. I would expect DV would be in the 10-18″ range whereas the Cottonwoods will be 16-24+”

      And not to worry… I’m Evan, I do most of the forecasting for WSF. I am now posting my discussions on OpenSnow, just another way for you to get the same forecast discussions.

  • Steve

    I bet Evan is WSF. Just a guess.

  • peter

    Of course he is – just trying to be clever. Congrats WSF!

  • WSF – saw something in a recent post about storm system conditions retreating during third week of January. At this point (recognizing the difficulty of long-range forecasting), do you see conditions then improving as we move towards the end of the month? I’ll be out skiing Alta, DV and Canyons from Jan 31-Feb 3. Would like to see at least one more decent snow event before end of month…bummer that after a very good Dec we are playing catch up already in January

    • Yep, the 15-21st looks mostly dry… we may then see some chances for snow returning after that. Currently long range models are indicating the ‘possibility’ of a stormy pattern for the last week of January and first week of Feb… Best we can tell you at this point is to stay tuned . . . We’ll keep you updated.

  • For some insane reason (i.e. a female) I have dedicated Friday to Snowbasin. Please relieve my fears and tell me that this won’t be one of those storms that gives my beloved Cottonwoods 2 feet while Ogden area gets a trace.

    • Don’t worry, my friend, all areas should get at least decent snow. Basin might not be quite as deep but you’ll still get plenty of freshies.

  • Anonymous

    Wow somewhat disappointing results…saw Alta was reporting only 8 new inches over last 24 hrs. What happened?

    • Alta saw a bit of a dry slot in the snow that limited there accumulations compared to BCC. Don’t worry… storm isn’t over yet… we should still top a foot in LCC by tomorrow!