El Diablo está en los Detalles

Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 6:24 am

Sunday PM update:

Some big changes today in how the models handle the timing and evolution of the upcoming systems.  If you have read this morning’s discussion, then you’ll know there was a lot of uncertainty in the first place… today’s model runs did not help at all.

The GFS and Euro both agree now on one key timing difference.  It appears now as if the biggest threat for snow will be bumped up from late Friday-Saturday to late Thursday-Friday. So 24 hours earlier for the most significant system — a relatively drastic change from previous runs.

It looks like we’ll get our first shot at snow on Wednesday afternoon still as an initial wave moves through.  I still think we’ll only get a few inches from this first system.  The first system will likely then drape a boundary across Utah.  The second system for late on Thursday is more of a plume of moisture than an organized low pressure system.  It is going to follow this boundary from California through Nevada into Utah.  This morning’s run of the EC had this boundary positioned generally from SLC north.  This afternoon’s runs have the boundary farther south, from about SLC to Cedar City.  The position of this boundary is critical to where we can expect the most snowfall.  The majority of Utah ski resorts would like this to setup right in between the morning and the afternoon runs (i.e. directly over SLC, the Cottonwoods, and PC).

Here is a graphical comparison of the forecasted snowfall from this morning and this afternoon, notice how the majority of it is now south of SLC:

This morning:


This afternoon:



The forecasted location for the best snow will likely continue to waffle north and south a bit over the next few days, so there’s no point worrying too much about it.  The key takeaway from this afternoon’s update should be that the best snow will likely arrive earlier than previously thought — Thursday and Thursday night.  Friday appears to be the best powder day at this point.   Of course, all of this is subject to change again as the models are having a hell of a time figuring out this pattern change.  Whatever happens, I’ll have more on this in the AM…




Plenty to be excited about as we will soon be starting a transition to a new pattern that will bring fresh snow back to the mountains of Utah later this week.  Details still being ironed out.


Inversions continue in the valleys while the mountains are clear and beautiful.  While the backcountry and sidecountry have become stale and crusty, the groomers are actually skiing quite nicely.  However, there’s no hiding the fact that we could do with some fresh snow.  Good news! It’s on the way!

Tomorrow a weak system will drop down the east side of the ridge.  It looks like this will do very little for us besides increasing clouds a bit.

On Wednesday, another system will be moving in from the west, breaking down the ridge in the process.  Most of this system’s energy will be pushed north of the area, but we may still see enough moisture for high mountain snow showers with rain showers below 7,000 feet later in the day on Wednesday.   Again, at most, I only expect a few inches of high density snow mainly north of SLC.

A stronger system is still progged to move into the area late Friday through Saturday.  Models still struggling to find common ground on exactly how strong the system will be for Utah.  Yesterday’s GFS was fairly strong, but it has backed off a bit in its last two runs.  The ECMWF (Euro) has been consistently strong but confines the best precip to Northern Utah.  The GEM is a nice middle-of-the-road model.  Here is the Canadian GEM’s QPF between now and the end of next weekend:


Going to give the models another day to find more agreement before we start making accumulation forecasts.  At this point, it looks like we’ll be skiing/riding fresh snow next weekend — the only question remaining is “how much”.

Long Range:

Not a whole lot of agreement beyond next weekend.  I don’t see any obvious storms that show up in all the models, but at the same time, none of the models show dominant high pressure returning either.  For now, we’ll just have to wait to see if a consensus forms.



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  • Eric Lewis

    As a Canadian making my way to LCC next Fri, for a month, I fully, totally and completely endorse the Canadian model! : ) And thanks as always, for your posts, my absolute favourite way to “waste” time!

  • Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

    Thank you for the afternoon update! Fingers crossed that this storm drops 1+ feet Thursday evening/Friday.