Interesting day today as the government shutdown is now affecting our weather. Well, maybe not the weather itself, but how we forecast it. NOAA, which provides much of the model data that we use daily to make forecasts put out a release today that they would not be posting new information except in life threatening situations. You can read their official statement here. So what does that mean for WSF and snow forecasting? Good question. There hasn’t been a gov’t shutdown like this in the internet era, so I was curious as this situation developed to see what happened with public NOAA tools. So far, it looks like all the models will be up and running as normal — so it would appear that there shouldn’t be much affect on WSF’s forecasts. Good news! But for everybody’s sake, let’s hope they figure this out quickly.
As for the forecast, Tuesday and Wednesday should offer warm but breezy weather as the jet stream amplifies and starts to drop a system into the Great Basin and Northern Rockies.
Late Wednesday evening, the front itself will move into far northern Utah and move southeast through the state throughout the night and during the day on Thursday. This will bring a brief period of moderate precipitation to the area. Snow levels will start out above 8,000 feet but quickly lower to 6,500 feet on Thursday morning. I don’t expect much more than an inch or two with the initial front. There will likely be a break during the day on Thursday before a favorable northwest flow brings orographic precipitation to the Wasatch range on Thursday evening.
We should start to clear out on Friday. Overall, this system is very similar to the one we saw last week. I expect snowfall amounts to be similar as well. Generally 1-4″ above 6,500 feet with more possible in areas favored in a northwest flow (Uintas/Cottonwoods). There is also the possibility for more lake enhanced snowfall, we’ll have to keep an eye on that.
The weekend will be dry and warmer. Next week is still a toss up, but it looks like the ridge of high pressure in the Eastern Pacific will move west over the West Coast. This will force systems well north of us, then drop them to our east into the central US. We’ll likely only be brushed by these storms with clouds and cooler air from time to time.