Tuesday PM update:
I know there are a lot of you that are almost as desperate for a good snowstorm as I am, and therefore anxiously awaiting an update on today’s developments. So here it is:
Everything still looks good. It looks like the first warm, moist wave tomorrow afternoon won’t do too much other than a couple inches above 9,000 feet with a rain/snow mix at the bases of the resorts. The next, much colder, shortwave will move in early Thursday morning and bring a decent period of snowfall to the Wasatch. I don’t think accumulations will be all that great, but by the end of the day Thursday, 5-10″ still seems reasonable, especially in the Cottonwoods which are favored by the northwest flow. There will be a break in the action Thursday night before another impulse enters the area on Friday. This wave is not as well defined, but with decent moisture in place and lots of cold air, snowfall could pile up. It’s very hard to give a forecast for the Friday impulse because it’s relying so heavily on orographics, but several more inches is certainly possible. These types of systems have surprised us in the past so let’s hope we get lucky again.
Euro still keeps the unsettled northwest flow in place through the end of the weekend while the GFS clears us out by Sunday. Both models now starting to hint at active weather for the end of the month into early April… We shall see…WSF
Things have been looking up for us the last couple days. For the first time in a while, it seems a system has stayed consistent in the models — actually even looking slightly better in recent runs. Today will be the last day of sunshine with a gradual trend towards increasing clouds in the afternoon. Tomorrow the moisture starts to work its way into the area with rain showers developing. Snow levels will initially be high, around 8,000 feet tomorrow afternoon. I don’t expect much accumulation during the day except for a couple inches on the highest elevations. Snow levels will start to drop tomorrow night as a second, colder portion of the system drops in from the Pacific Northwest. This will bring moderate amounts of snow to the area Wednesday night through Thursday with snow levels dropping below 5,000 ft.
Expecting 5-10″ of snow for the Wasatch above 7,000 ft by Thursday evening. Still haven’t changed that 5-10″ initial prediction from Sunday. NWS has been bumping up their predictions as they gain more confidence in the system. I’m not quite ready to bump up the forecast yet as I think the high density snowfall and lack of dynamics for the first portion of this storm may inhibit high accumulations. Also, with our luck lately, I think it’s a good idea to play it safe and stay conservative on accumulations. This system will generally favor areas like the Cottonwoods and the Northern Wasatch so Park City could be on the low end of the range. Thursday should be a good powder day!
The big change that I mentioned yesterday in the models was to hold off on building the ridge and instead keep a cold, moist northwest flow in place. The GFS shows a couple weak impulses moving through on Friday and again on Saturday that could fire up additional snowfall with light accumulations. The EC is a bit more aggressive and keeps impulses rippling through Northern Utah through the beginning of next week and would potentially lead to more significant accumulations over time. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, as patterns like this can sometimes surprise us with “sleeper” powder days.
Eventually, both models build the ridge, but the GFS tries to break it down again by later next week while the EC holds it strong until the end of the month. Right now I have next to no confidence in either solution beyond this weekend, so we’ll just have to play the waiting game and see what idea they eventually settle on. In the mean time, the Wasatch has potential for some decent snow over the next few days, so get out there and enjoy it while you still can!