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.
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.