Dirty Ridge (Wednesday update)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 9:13 am

Wednesday AM update:

No real changes to yesterday’s thinking… isolated afternoon showers possible on Friday and Saturday with a better chance for valley rain and mountain snow moving in late Sunday and Monday.  Still questions about the exact timing/track of the Low.


The area is currently under a dirty ridge, but just enough moisture has streamed into the area in the zonal flow for some cloud cover.  Afternoon heating could lead to diurnal convection — aka afternoon showers and maybe even thunderstorms.  I expect just isolated showers today with snow levels around 8,000 feet.  Tomorrow we should clear out a bit again.  Moisture will once again start to move into the area on Friday and Saturday ahead of the approaching cut-off low.  This will lead to a slight chance of showers on these days throughout Utah.

The cut-off low will finally move inland on Sunday and Monday bringing more widespread rain to the valleys and high elevation snowfall.  As many of you know, cut-off lows are very hard to predict and often follow more southerly tracks, so there isn’t a whole lot of confidence in how much precip we’ll see.  But chances are all of Utah will at least get something, although Southern Utah might see the brunt of the storm.

Looking at the long range into the first week or two of April, it looks like a dominate high pressure ridge will park itself in the Gulf of AK.  Models are suggesting that we may see undercutting of the ridge with relatively warm, moist systems moving into the west coast.  This is a fairly typical Spring pattern and therefore makes sense.  However, it’s too early to call it a forecast. For now, all attention will be on the cut-off low over the next 5 days.


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  • RopeTow

    WSF: I am still getting used to your terminology. When you say “showers” you just mean precip, right? Not differentiating between snow and the other thing? And then the crucial factor (especially as Spring unfolds) is the freezing line…right?

    • Right, showers/precip can be rain or snow. Still a bit early to define exact snow levels so I just used the general term. It will likely be snow on the mountains and rain in the valleys.

      • RopeTow

        Got it! And the tricky thing over here in Park City (where base elevation is 7000 ft) with these warmer spring storms is whether the snow line will start higher up the mountain than the base. I’m guessing its not such a big issue at Alta and Bird, where base elevation is above 8000 feet…right?

  • Ethan

    I’m still getting used to the terminology as well. I have a few buddies visiting from Virginia Apr. 3 through the 10th. How does the weather look for that given time period? Any good snow storms on the way? Love your site btw! keep up the good work!

    • I try to make it so even if you don’t understand the terms sometimes, you can at least get the gist of the forecast. If you ever have any questions, there is a link to NOAA’s Glossary under “Resources”.

      Still a bit early to know any specifics for that time period but there are some indications of a potential breakthrough of the Pacific jet so it’s certainly possible for good snow.