Snowbird’s opening day today, powder day tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 7:21 am

Wednesday PM update:

Everything still looking good this evening.  The high elevations of the Wasatch saw light snow once again for most of the day with most locations above 7,500 feet seeing 1-3″ of wet accumulation — just as forecasted.  Tonight, the cold front moves in with heavier snow developing.  Still looks like an additional 4-8 inches should fall for totals of 5-10″, plust the 1-3″ we saw yesterday.  Temps will drop overnight tonight with snow levels below 6,000 feet by morning — so this will be a “right-side-up” storm.  Powder day tomorrow?


Complicated pattern continues today…  Cutoff low is sliding down the California coast today — at the same time, a trough to our north will pass by.  We will be in between these two features where a cold front will strengthen and move through later tonight.  Another plume of moisture is expected to move into the area this afternoon ahead of the front.  That will act as a primer for the front and will help to increase snowfall potential tonight.

Today, we’ll see cloudiness continue with light precipitation developing by the afternoon.  Snow levels will be at about 7,500 feet.  Only 1-3″ is expected in the highest elevations by this evening.

Tonight, the front itself will move into the area and intensify precipitation.  In previous model runs, the front strengthened and stalled over central Utah.  The latest runs however show it focusing the most intense precipitation over the Central Wasatch.  This would be good news for many of our ski resorts.  I expect 3-6″ to fall overnight.

Tomorrow, snow will start to taper off by mid-day (an additional 1-3″).  There is the potential for a downslope wind event in the afternoon, so easterly winds along the Wasatch and Wasatch front could be strong.

Overall, accumulations from now through the end of the day tomorrow should be in the 5-10″ range.  The NAM shows the following forecast for Alta snowfall:

Hopefully, this verifies, but I have to forecast on reality and not potential.  And the reality is that there is a lot that can go wrong in this type of pattern.  So it’s prudent for me to say 5-10″ with the possibility for more in places if everything goes according to plan.

Looking at the long term, Northern Utah should stay dry through at least Thanksgiving (possibly longer).  Southern Utah could see a chance for rain and high elevation snow through the weekend as the cut-off low tracks east through the four corners region.  Euro abandoned its idea of a Thanksgiving storm that we mentioned yesterday.  Overall, the outlook isn’t great right now, but if the last week taught us anything, it’s that things can change quickly around here.


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  • Steve

    Been looking at radar last few hours. Seems precip can’t get east of great salt lake. At least that’s what the radar picture on the NWS looks like. But perhaps I don’t know what I’m looking at.