Last night, a fairly moist southerly flow developed that brought periodic light snow showers to the high elevations. These showers were widely scattered but led to an inch or two of fresh snow at select Wasatch resorts. We are still far away from the parent low, so there isn’t a ton of moisture to work with but that will start to change later today and tonight as the low tracks through S. California and eventually into N. Arizona or S. Utah. We’ve seen this pattern a couple times already in the last month or so with a Low tracking to our south, so regular readers should know what to expect.
Southern Utah should do quite well with this system. Accumulations up to 18″ in the high mountains are possible. If you are really itching for powder, I’d recommend packing up the car right now and heading down to Brian Head. High confidence for them to do pretty well. Tomorrow will be fun!
For the Wasatch, things are much less transparent. Despite most models agreeing that the Low will have enough reach to throw moisture as far north as the Central Wasatch and Uintas, it’s still difficult to pinpoint exactly how much will fall and where. The NAM has consistently shown pockets of more significant snowfall. However, it has not been consistent with where these pockets are located. As the counterclockwise rotation around the Low forces the flow more easterly and eventually northerly, we’ll likely see banding tonight and tomorrow that will create pockets of heavy accumulation. If you remember back to early Feb when we had a similar Low tracking to our south, Sundance of all places saw a persistent snow band that dropped 30+” of snow while the rest of the resorts in the Wasatch just saw a few inches. The potential exists for something like this to happen again, but as mentioned before, it’s impossible to pinpoint where it would occur. Overall, I think it’s wise to set low expectations with this system as they often disappoint. Hopefully we’ll get surprised, but it’s better to have low expectations and get surprised than have high expectations and be disappointed, right?
Therefore, I’m going to set the accumulation forecasts to 10-18″ for the mountains of S. Utah (above 7K feet), 5-10″ for the Wasatch south of I-80, and 3-6″ for the Wasatch north of I-80. Most of this should fall tonight as snow gradually intensifies today then gradually diminishes tomorrow.
Long range: Next week will be dry through at least Wednesday. Most models then set up a zonal flow (flat jet stream) that streams moisture through the northern tier of the continental U.S. At this time, it looks like most of the precip will stay just north of Utah late next week. There are some indications that the jet could start to sag south or buckle a bit with a trough developing over the west by next weekend. This is an auspicious sign for us to start getting an active pattern going for the latter half of the month and it coincides with the PNA going negative. Too early to get excited, but worth watching.
CFSv2 actually shows above normal precip anomalies for Week 2:
This is significant because it’s happened so seldom this winter. Last time we saw +anomalies in week 2 was mid-February, when it was forecasting for the last week of Feb, and mid-December when it was forecasting for the last week of December… Make what you will of that…