Saturday PM update:
Snow has been dwindling this afternoon. Most of the action is now occurring south of the GSL courtesy of a bit of lake effect/enhancement. If you read the discussion this morning, you could probably tell I wasn’t so hot on this system. Moisture wasn’t quite as prevalent as models were depicting just yesterday. The main reason, however, is that the flow today has been almost due north — parallel to the Wasatch range. Yesterday, we were expecting the flow to be more out of the northwest. When you don’t have that critical westerly component, you are unable to generate the orographic lift necessary to bring snow up into the mountains. So snow totals are probably going to be in the 2-5″ range rather than the 4-12″ range we were hoping for. That will bring 3-day totals to 10-22″… Not bad considering earlier this week things were looking hopeless.
With small storms like this, we are only going to be playing catch-up all season. If we actually want to get back to an average snowpack, we are going to need a full breakthrough of the westerlies. More on our chance of that happening tomorrow . . . WSF
Moisture has been advecting into the area all morning, leading to light snow and minor accumulations. As mentioned yesterday, the northern resorts seem to have seen more of it early on than the Cottownood/PC resorts — with snowbasin reporting 4″ and resorts farther south only averaging an inch or so.
I’m not in love with this storm so far. The 00z NAM really backed off last night on QPF which got me worried and radar trends don’t look too promising. Therefore, I’m going to back off on totals a bit. 6-12″ seems like a stretch, especially for the Cottonwood and PC. I think 3-6″ is more likely. Snowbasin, which as we mentioned already has 4″, should be able to reach the 6-12″ range.
The northwest flow can surprise us sometimes with decent totals, so this storm could end up making a fool out of me. NWS is still sticking with their forecast of 6-12″ for the mountains as of 5:36 AM…. so who knows…. for me it is just a gut feeling right now.
Unsettled northwest flow continues through Christmas day with a chance for light snow in northern Utah, primarily in the mountains. There is a distinct disturbance for Christmas eve that could bring a few light snow showers to the valleys, but accumulations would be next to nothing.
Ridge edges closer and totally shuts the door for us later next week. Inversions will likely develop again in the valleys after Christmas. Models hinting at another system dropping down the east edge of the ridge just before New Years.
We’ll take a full look at the long-term tomorrow AM (with lots of maps and pretty colors)…Stay tuned.