Another significant storm taking shape. . . ?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 8:21 am

Today’s weak system is already mostly moved through the area.  Still a few snow showers flying in the high elevations and even a small band of lake effect just north of SLC.  This band should dissipate quickly this morning.  So far snow reports have been anywhere from 2-5″, and with the additional snow showers this morning, I anticipate another inch or two before we clear out completely this afternoon.  That will put us perfectly in the 3-6″ forecast from yesterday.  Looking at the Snowbird snowcam timelapse, it seems like it accumulated fairly well so expect a good day in the Cottonwoods if you’re going up there.

Tomorrow and Saturday will be break days, although it is a somewhat dirty ridge so clouds should still be present with somewhat modest warming.  On Saturday night, the cold front will sag into Northern and Central Utah where it is progged to stall for several days.  Embedded disturbances will then ripple along the boundary from Sunday-Tuesday.  At this time it looks like a weak wave on Sunday with a few inches for the Wasatch, a stronger wave on Monday with more significant accumulations, then a final weaker wave on Tuesday.  I still think we have potential to see some good accumulations and there will be a lot of people cursing their luck that Sunday is closing day at their favorite mountain.  So it goes…

It might seem counter-intuitive, but for much of the Wasatch, we actually have our deepest snow of the season right now at high elevation sensors.  Here is a look at the current snowpack numbers:



You can see this year (green line).  We are only at about 75% of average (blue line), but we are currently deeper than we were at any point last year.  The light blue line is the astounding year of 2010-2011… really puts it into perspective, huh? Still, at places like Alta, it always feels almost painful when they close with the deepest snowpack of the season on the ground (and it’s only likely to grow over the next week).  Oh well.

If you’re going up to the mountain today, have a great time on the fresh snow that’s up there! I’ll have to wait until the Sunday-Tuesday storm for my next powder fix.


The season is wrapping up.  I will continue to post through the end of April and as warranted through the summer.  A lot of what shapes our winters occurs in the Summer, so I’ll be keeping an eye on ENSO cycles, etc, for you.  If you’ve enjoyed reading WSF this winter, please don’t hesitate to donate a few bucks.  This site is run for free and the only income received is from a few supporters that you see on the right sidebar.  As you can probably guess, it takes an awful lot of my time every day to bring you these forecasts.  I love doing it and will continue to do it even if I don’t receive a dime, but any donation you can spare is much appreciated.  I look forward to bringing you the same forecasts next year!



Wednesday Discussion:

Yesterday was one of the better April powder days I’ve ever had.  That might be a bit of an exaggeration brought on by the limited number of epic days of the last two seasons, but perception is everything, and my perception was one of utter awesomeness.  I was in BCC yesterday and while it wasn’t quite as bottomless as it was in PC, it was still pretty darn deep.  The areas that hadn’t seen any tracks on Monday where virtually bottomless and it was typical Utah fluff with water content on the top layer around 5%.

If you missed yesterday, or just want some more today, I recommend getting up there early.  The high sun angle and much warmer temperatures will do their number on the snow quality.  Finding untracked powder won’t be an issue however , as there were still plenty of untouched pockets at closing yesterday (at least in BCC).

This break in the action is short lived as another system will move in early tomorrow morning through the day.  This is a fast moving storm with limited dynamics but it is fairly moist.  I think a high POP but low QPF system is in order.  In case you’re wondering, that means most (if not all) areas should see measurable precipitation, but it should generally be light amounts.  Snow levels will also be higher but the chance for 3-6″ quick inches does exist for tomorrow.

We then clear out for the most part on Friday and especially Saturday and warm back up.  This is closing weekend for many Utah ski resorts.  If you are looking to go up there for a BBQ or Spring skiing, Saturday is the day to do it.

The interesting part of the forecast is for Sunday into the middle of next week.  I’m starting to get the feeling that a lot of people are going to be upset that their local mountain is closing on Sunday.  On Sunday, a cold front will drop into the area.  Timing is tricky, but it’s looking like the best precip will hold off until Sunday night and Monday.  This is why if your resort is closing on Sunday, it might drive you crazy.  This cold front looks like it is going to turn into a bit of a stalled boundary.  The latest GFS was farther south with this feature and places it directly over the Central Wasatch.  Plenty of moisture and cold air will accompany this system, so if all goes according to plan, it could be another major Spring storm for the area.  Again, this is 4-5 days away, so I wouldn’t get too excited (or angry if you resort is closed) just yet.  But just know that the potential is there . . .

It is a bit disappointing from a skier perspective to see all this active weather so late in the season.  Had we had these storms in January, they probably would have dropped even more snow.  And the snow that fell would have stayed in good shape for a longer time period.  But from a hydro viewpoint, this is excellent news and will help alleviate any potential drought for the Summer.  The areas that didn’t see significant snowfall with the last storm likely saw at least plenty of rain.  My house picked well over an inch of liquid and that will do wonders in the coming months.

Let’s hope our good luck continues . . . It’s looking like it will.



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7 thoughts on “Another significant storm taking shape. . . ?

  1. BLP

    Hello–just wanted you to know that everyone at Dolly’s Bookstore in Park City loves the job you are doing!

  2. RopeTow

    Nice graph. I wonder how many winters since 1981 were below, say 80%, of normal/average (like the last two winters)…

  3. powder

    So would Monday possibly be a good day out of the described “Sunday-Tuesday storm for my next powder fix”?

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