Getting exciting . . .

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:54 am

Thursday AM… Weak storm #1 is bringing light snow to areas of northern Utah right now with a couple inches falling in some places… just about as expected. Not much, but a little bit to soften up the slopes. Updating . . . .

Wednesday AM update:

Just a quick update… Tomorrow’s system still looks ok for some light snow. Maybe 3-6″ north of I-80 and 1-3″ elsewhere in the Central Wasatch. Nothing major but just enough to freshen up the skiing. Bad news is that the next system for Sunday night is looking much weaker in the models than 24 hours ago, not that it was ever looking like more than a few inches. We will barely clip far northern Utah with just a few light snow showers. Disappointing for those of you in Utah only for the weekend hoping for some fresh snow.

Everything still looking good after President’s Day though! Models in good agreement for a much stronger system late Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and perhaps more systems after that as we head toward the end of the month. Stay tuned . . .


I feel like I’ve been putting myself and my forecast out on the line over the last couple weeks by forecasting a pattern change after President’s Day. Those of you who follow along with the GFS or the Euro were probably wondering what I was seeing as it certainly wasn’t showing up in the operational models. But I was optimistic as other things were changing in the global weather patterns (like the MJO) and I was banking on the fact that the models were just playing catch-up. Finally a little bit of vindication today as the GFS looks good, and the Euro looks awesome for a series of storms to start moving in late this weekend into next week.

It has been a couple of months since I’ve been able to use the words “series” and “storms” together. Since December we’ve seen essentially only three storm systems. They have all been what I call “one and done” systems — essentially meaning they beat the odds of a dominant ridge to bring us some snow, then they are gone and we return to dry (inverted) weather for a week or two. Finally, it’s starting to look like we’ll see storms building on top of each other.

So let’s get into the details of what we are seeing… This storm cycle will be made possible by the Eastern Pacific ridge retrograding westward and allowing cold storms to drop in from the northwest. Sound familiar? The first system will be late Wednesday night and Thursday and will just barely clip Northern Utah. At this point it looks like the best we’ll see is a dusting for the valleys with a few inches possible in the mountains, primarily north of I-80. Not going to be a deep powder day on Thursday or Friday, but a little bit of fresh snow will make the skiing/riding fun.

The next system will move in late Sunday into Monday. This system will have a slightly better trajectory but is still not optimal for snowfall in the Wasatch. Too early to guess amounts but light to moderate accumulations is the best guess right now. It will provide at least some fresh snow for the President’s Day skiers who made the trip out here for the weekend.

Then it looks like the jet trajectory will continue to improve and bring us more moisture-laden storms. At this point it looks like we’ll have another system around Wednesday of next week. And perhaps another system behind that for Friday/Saturday of next week. Of course we are now 10+ days out and the details are incredibly vague. But the overall pattern is looking promising for us to at least start our climb back to average snowpack in the Wasatch. Lots of powder days ahead!

More details later….WSF

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  • david

    Very exciting news!!

  • Anonymous

    Glad to hear it. headed there again the weekend of February 23. Looking at GFS, still looks sort of moisture starved though. But periodic small snowfalls aren’t too bad. It’s the long periods of no snow that are a killer.

    • Yes, none of them look like major storms, at this point, but that is how the pattern was in December and it can still add up. ECMWF looks better than GFS in terms of strength as well. Anything is better than what we’ve been seeing right?

  • Anonymous

    Good morning WSF. Thanks for the encouraging update. You do a fantastic job with this this site. I am heading out to LCC in mid-March. Are there signs that the pattern is going to remain active into March? Any insight would be great. Thanks!

    • Still too early to know what the pattern will be like in mid-March. Hopefully we’ll still be in a relatively wet pattern. March is typically a very good month for the Wasatch.

  • Laura

    Thanks for the update. It has been snowing very lightly, but steadily here in Lower DV for a couple of hours now. Was this expected?

    • There is a moist warm advection flow over the area and we knew it would bring some clouds but no, I personally didn’t think it was strong enough to generate much in the way of snow shower activity. Thanks for the update!

  • kimble

    Have I ever told you how much I love Wastach Snow Forecast? Especially when the forecast turns for the better and you don’t use that dirty inversion word….

    • Haha. You can tell us that as much as you’d like. I know I don’t get sick of hearing it. And I definitely enjoy making the forecasts.

  • Sal

    Sweet! I frequent some of the model forecasts online (but not qualified to forecast) and can see the trend you’re talking about. It’s been heart breaking to get some of the “one and done” storms specially when some places have gotten the shaft on snow amounts lately like PC!

  • Jack

    I’m headed out to the Wasatch for a week, starting 2/23…I hope we get some accumulating snow!! Odds?

    • A little too far out to know for sure, but the overall weather trend would suggest you’ll get at least some fresh snow.

  • Mr. Sounds

    Heading out to Ogden / Powder Mountain area on Feb 28 for 5 days – hoping to see more of that great powder!!

  • Anonymous

    Hello WSF. I have been following your blog for the past few months. I love the passion and insight you bring to your forecasts. Is the pattern change you have been forecasting still looking optimistic? I am heading to Alta in March and hoping the coverage will be good. I would like to hear your thoughts.

    • I’m still very optimistic. Got a few storms lining up for next week.