Holding serve

Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 7:26 am

Some good signs out there for next week.  First, all the sensors are now up to date and we can look at the snowpack numbers throughout the Wasatch.  Generally speaking, the Cottonwoods are now sitting at 80% of normal.  On the other side of the hill in PC, they are around 75% of normal.  The Northern Wasatch is averaging 71% of normal.  Southern Utah is closest of all to normal with about 90% on average.  Not great, but better than last year and still close enough for us to make up the difference.  These numbers are also fairly close to where we stood at the end of January, so for the month of February, we held serve.

So let’s look at the forecast, high pressure is fighting a weak system that is going to pass to our north tonight and tomorrow. It should spread some cloud cover into the area this afternoon with a slight chance of high elevations snow showers tonight and tomorrow.  The farther north the location, the better chance you’ll have to see a snow shower, but don’t expect any accumulations.  High pressure will then give us a nice warm Saturday with temps on the mountain edging into the 40s.  Valleys will be inverted, but may still make it close to 50.

On Sunday, our next chance for accumulating snow moves in.  The system is timing a little faster this morning, so snow may start as early as Sunday morning and continue into Sunday night.  Precip will start as rain in the valleys before changing to snow late in the event.  It’s a little early to talk exact amounts, but right now it looks like its a moderate storm that is taking its best energy north of Utah, so I don’t expect too much.  Perhaps somewhere between 3-8″ by Monday morning above 7K feet.

Then we’ll have a few days of break before another system approaches for later next week (Thursday/Friday).  This system is looking promising but it’s a long way out and I still have some concerns with it splitting as it moves into the Great Basin.  However, it’s worth noting that a couple model runs have suggested a significant, slow-moving storm with a decent subtropical moisture tap.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether or not there will be enough coverage for skiing for those of you making trips to the Wasatch later this month.  Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of coverage.  Luckily, a bad year for Utah is still a good year for a lot of other places and there is plenty of coverage at local resorts.  We are just spoiled and like to complain. 🙂


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  • Anonymous

    Good morning WSF. As always, a great report this morning! Just wondering if the models are hinting at a greater chance for storminess by the middle of March? Thanks!

    • Still too far out to know, a few model runs have hinted at storminess, but a few have hinted at ridging. So it’s still up in the air (no pun intended). The PNA index forecast shows it going negative around mid-month which can frequently force a trough over the western U.S. That is a good sign! Wish I could give a more conclusive answer, but it’s just too early as of yet.

  • James

    Any opening in mid-march is good.. imo.. March-may are the wettest months.

  • Minnesota Muppet

    Hi, I have a trip coming up to Utah. Is a 92″ base enough to cover grass and small rocks? I am unable to think an therefore need your guidance on this trivial, unimportant and irrelevant issue.


    • Nope. 92″ is only about halfway up a blade of grass. 😉

      • This is probably not funny to you due to the insane frequency of similar questions from serious people

        Thank you for that! I’m planning on booking a trip in January 2017…. will there be more snow at Alta or Snowbird from the 13th to 17th of that month? Please be both extremely specific and absolutely correct. Thanks!

        • You joke, Brian, but Accuweather should be Beta testing their five-year forecast any day now.

  • Weathernovice

    Love your forecasts. Super helpful for those of us traveling from the east coast. Do you have a recommendation for a resource to understand more of the technical terms you use. I know orographic lift is good…but no idea what is.

    • Thanks. You can find a link to the NOAA Glossary under “Resources” at the top of the page and that should have most terms in it. If you still can’t find it, you can ask me or do a google search and there are almost always good articles out there explaining all sorts of WX phenomena.

  • You’re right, we who live in this lucky place of Utah have to remember the poor souls in places like Australia who are happy if there is barely enough snow to cover the grass! Albeit, the last couple of years they’ve had bonza seasons!

  • Barry

    Looks like the 18Z NAM is showing a possibility for a little snow tomorrow and the Sunday storm seems to be looking pretty good to me.

    • Yep, we could get a few snow showers tomorrow up north. The 18z NAM looked really good.

  • Anonymous

    Hi WSF. It seems as though the upcoming storm for Saturday/Sunday is on the warmer side. Do you see areas like Alta/Snowbird receiving any rain from this storm or is it likely to remain all snow? Thanks!