Some timing changes, but the forecast for snow stays the same…

Monday, January 27, 2014 at 6:40 am


After a long period of dry weather, a pattern change will bring snow back to Utah this week.  Best period for snowfall will be late Wednesday – Friday.


Much better model agreement this morning has made forecasting less of a headache.  Hopefully you were able to catch yesterday’s afternoon update as there were some key timing changes that became apparent with the afternoon runs of each model.  Mainly that the best period for snowfall would be about 24 hours earlier than previously thought.

Today a weak system is passing well to our east.  Don’t think we’ll see anything other than a few more clouds than we have been seeing lately.

Tuesday will be continued dry with a gradual increase in clouds during the afternoon and evening.

Wednesday the first initial push of moisture will work its way into the area during the afternoon.  This initial wave will be severely weakened from having to bust through the ridge, but a few high elevation snow showers are likely.  Snow levels will be around 7000′, so the snow that does fall above that will be high density.

Wednesday night – Thursday we will see the main push of moisture start to work its way into the area.  Initially snow densities will be quite high with warm air being advected into the area.  However, cooler air will start to filter in later in the day on Thursday and into Thursday night which should lower snow levels to valley floors and drop snow densities significantly.

By Friday, snow will be tapering off and mostly moving south and east of the area.  A cool northwest flow and another weak disturbance could keep occasional snow showers going Friday through Sunday.

Here is a model composite look at forecasted snowfall from Wednesday thru Friday:



Areas of pink are generally accumulations of 10″ or more…. The lighter pink areas is where accumulations could be pushing 18″.   While this is an encouraging sign, models haven’t been consistent enough for long enough for me to have confidence in this forecast just yet.  At this point, I think it would be safer to set your expectations at 6-12″ with the possibility for more if all goes according to plan.

Long range:

After a few remaining snow showers this weekend, high pressure in the Pacific is going to nudge closer to the coast and give us a break in the action.  Still unclear how long this high pressure will last but both EC and GFS suggest another weak to moderate storm dropping into the area around February 6 or so….  Beyond that, we have no clue at this point.

The MJO index has finally strengthened into moderate strength (it’s been doing nothing so far this year).  However, right now it is hanging around in unfavorable phases 6 and 7 ….  Hopefully later this month we can get that to propagate into phases 8, 1, 2, 3 and 4 ….  These phases would be much better at giving us a chance for a snowy second half of the ski season.


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  • Eric Lewis

    We will take what we will get! It sounds like the snow will also be right side up, which is good, and will help keep the hopefully building snow-pack more stable.

  • JoMaMa

    The snow might come in right-side up, but beware…the snowpack is totally upside-down and rotted

    • JoMaMa makes a good point… it’s going to be dicey in the backcountry later this week.

  • we need snow

    wouldn’t a full pattern change be for 10-14 days of different weather than what was previously experienced the 10 -14 days prior? Seems to me we are getting excited for one (1) storm as the high moves out of the area than moves back in and reestablishes itself. How can you even mention a system that will brush by well off to our East that will only bring us clouds and some breeze as a storm? The second in line is busting the ridge down with hopefully an inch or two of wet snow. To me the only storm hitting is the one on Thursday afternoon that has the potential to drop upwards of a foot of new snow. Than we ridge back up.

    • A pattern change is any change in the large-scale pattern, it can be quick change before it reverts back to a previous pattern. It can be a long-term change. Or it can be a change from one type of dry pattern to another dry pattern. I mention the system today because it is bringing clouds and breezes to the area, and therefore affects our weather… You don’t have to be excited, but after the last two weeks we’ve had, an inch of fresh snow would get me excited, and it looks like we’ll get a lot more than that!

  • Faceplant

    Anyone want a friendly competition of guessing total snowfall for a ski area? Pick the area the total snowfall for that area as reported on their site on the closing day. I’ll go with snowbird, 353.

    • I’m thinking 330″ for Snowbird for the year but sure hoping they can break 400″.

  • Eric Lewis

    Thanks, gang for the word on the backcountry. I am waiting for a friendly local to show me the way before I venture into your magical kingdom!

  • Steve

    Any thoughts on which areas are likely to get the most and least snow? NWS makes it sound like Ogden areas might not do quite as well as areas south of them.

    • The area of best snow has bounced back and forth from north to south — so confidence is pretty low. Latest trends seem to put it right over SLC/PC area….

  • The 12Z WRF is very optimistic today, it is forecasting a good 10-20″ for most central and northern Utah mountains by 5pm on Thursday with more snow possible Friday/Friday night!

  • Stylemaster

    Leaving Australia today – common USA bring it on!!