Thursday PM update:
Light snow has continued in the Northern Wasatch today with several additional inches accumulation. Light snow will continue tonight and slowly spread farther south. A few inches are possible as far south as the Cottonwoods overnight.
Snowfall on Friday will be more widespread with 3-8″ expected throughout the day in the mountains. Heaviest snowfall still timing for this weekend when the atmosphere becomes especially moist. Total accumulations of 2-4′ above 7,000 feet still looks good for the Northern Wasatch with 1-3′ above 7,000 feet for the Cottonwoods/PC by Monday night. Enjoy! WSF
An impressive event is on tap for this weekend. Snow will fall near the Idaho border again today, spreading south later today into tonight. Snow tomorrow for all of Northern Utah. An atmospheric river takes aim at us this weekend with rising snow levels (up to 7,500 feet) and heavy snow above that. Snow will likely be measured in FEET by Monday night when it finally ends.
Strong storm still looking good in all models… Going to break it down by time periods again today….
Today: Continuation of mostly light snow in the far northern Wasatch, slowly expanding south in the afternoon. Several more inches possible at Beaver Mountain and Powder Mountain. An inch or two at Snowbasin. Not much expected in the Cottonwoods or PC.
Tonight: Snow should continue expanding into the area and pick up in intensity overnight as energy works into the area. Accumulations of 3-6″ with more possible in areas favored by southwest flow like snowbasin.
Friday: Snow for all of the Wasatch is likely again with the best snow falling in the northern Wasatch in a SW flow. Accumulations of 4-8″ possible during the day.
Friday night: A bit of a break but snow showers are still likely throughout the Wasatch. (2-6″)
Saturday: Snow levels will start to rise as the atmosphere warms up with the next surge of tropical moisture. Rain in the valleys with snow above 7,000 feet, heavy at times. Accumulations 5-10″ of wet snow above 7,000 feet.
Saturday night – Sunday: Another wave of moisture with snow levels pushing up to 7,500 feet. Another 5-10″ is possible.
Monday: A final cold front wave will move through the area, dropping snow levels down again. Another 5-10″ will be possible with this.
All added up, totals look impressive. I think 2-4 feet is likely in the Northern Wasatch above 7,000 feet. I think 1-3 feet is likely in the Central Wasatch (Cottonwoods/PC) above 7,500 feet by Monday night. This is a long duration event, so if you wake up on Saturday morning and there’s not 3 feet of snow, remember, this forecast runs until Monday night.
Concerns: All this snow is awesome and sorely needed, but there are a number of concerns as well.
1) Snow levels. While snow levels won’t be an issue through Friday night, by Saturday, we will see them spike up. I’ve been looking at a lot of temp profiles this morning and I don’t think they’ll rise above 7,500 feet. However, occasionally in previous atmospheric river events, we have seen them go as high as 9,000 feet. Will have to watch and hope they stay lower.
2) Wind and rime. If you remember back to the second week of January, we had a good series of storms that fell victim to wind and rime. This is certainly a possibility as the storm looks to become increasingly windy this weekend. Be prepared for it! In between waves, there’s the possibility of riming to occur. This can put a nasty crust on the snow and can ruin a powder day for sure. It’s not a guarantee, but it is a possibility.
3) Avalanche danger. This storm is going to create very dangerous avalanche conditions. The lowest density snow will be on the bottom with increasingly heavy snow this weekend on top (upside down). This volume of snow would be dangerous no matter what, but the fact that it will be upside down makes it particularly sketchy. Check with the Utah Avalanche Center for more details throughout the weekend.
We will likely finally clear out on Tuesday and Wednesday with high pressure building to our south. Another storm will push into the PacNW on Wednesday afternoon and graze us on Thursday with snow possible in northern Utah. Additional storms will follow a similar track through the middle of the month. At this point its hard to say how much impact they will have on the area, but it does appear to remain generally unsettled.
Enjoy this event! It will do wonders for our snowpack! Let’s hope the concerns outlined above don’t ruin the skiing/riding!