Weak to moderate systems… better than nothing

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 6:59 am

Tuesday PM update:

Today’s model runs have been treating us pretty well.  Latest NAM, GFS, and EC have all shown the boundary strengthening and stalling farther north than this morning’s runs.  I think from Wednesday night – Friday morning we could see 6-12″ in the high Wasatch.  More snow still looking likely for the weekend.  Tomorrow morning we’ll take a full look at the details.



Inversions will continue through at least Thursday before a trough moves overhead allowing a series of small to moderate systems to drop south into the area.   Chances for snow will continue from Thursday through Christmas.


The ridge is retrograding ever so slightly while amplifying in the Eastern Pacific.  This is going to allow a trough to dig south along the east edge of the ridge.  This trough will drop into the Great Basin on Wednesday and split as it does so.   Most of the energy will be associated with a Low pressure center that will settle over Southern California.  There will also be energy associated with the main trough that will be to our northeast.   Utah will be right in between these two features.  We expect a boundary cold front to set up and perhaps stall over central Utah.  Moisture and dynamics are not great in this deformation zone, but it will still allow some snow to fall on the area on Thursday.   Total accumulations by Friday morning with this first ‘system’ should be 1-3″ in the Wasatch north of I-80 with 3-6″ south of I-80.  This is a complicated pattern, and exactly where this boundary sets up is critical to how much snow we get.  Therefore, amounts may have to be adjusted accordingly as we get closer.

The next, more potent, system is expected to arrive Friday night into Saturday.  This system doesn’t show nearly as much splitting and actually has potential to be a decent snow producer for the weekend.  It’s a little early to say amounts with any certainty, but 6-12″ is possible for the mountains of northern Utah.

Additional weak waves may impact the area through Christmas.  Models are having a tough time deciding ridge placement next week — which is critical to knowing whether we’ll be dry or have a chance for more storms.  So until there is more agreement, it’s tough to make a forecast.

These systems aren’t going to put down crazy amounts of snow, but every little bit helps and hopefully they will give way to stronger storms as we head into January.


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  • Steve

    Any chance for lake effect surprises with a system like this!

    • Maybe a slight chance behind the Sunday system. But the GSL has cooled considerably, so it’ll take all the right ingredients and lots of cold air to get it to happen.

  • coco

    What geographic area are you referring to when you say “Great Basin”? Also, thanks for daily updates and sensible forecasts. Much more accurate (and well written, and enjoyable) than that other snow forecast site. I’ll be visiting PC right after X-mas and use this site to stay informed about the local conditions…great resource! Thanks!

  • Tanner McFly

    Any snow for the valleys with these storms?

  • trolls everywhere

    pls Scat Chipman,

    can it be passible 4 u to confirm this 4cast to me. otherwise how is it able for me to know if it is true?

  • Swamp Crotchman

    Dear Crock Potman,

    I do not believe you. WSF can you confirm what Chip Chopman is saying above?


    Swamp Crotchman

  • Sure, I can confirm, Swamp. Can we get third party verification?

  • Those WRF maps do a great job of showing snow in Utah and throughout the west.

  • As you know I love these WRF maps. Link to the higher resolution 4km version with forecasted snow fall through 5am on Friday http://www.atmos.washington.edu/mm5rt/rt/load.cgi?latest+YYYYMMDDHH/images_d3/snow72.72.0000.gif

  • Egg Nogman

    Dear Lap Danceman,

    Love is such a strong word for maps. Doesnt leave much room for water skiing.

    I ski for the little kids that dont get Christmas presents.

  • I love maps. Especially maps that show snow.

  • james

    Obama is blocking storms from the region

  • Limpier Dumpier Manlier Man

    Scot chipman, can you confirm that obama is putting us in a blocking pattern?