Cry Me An Atmospheric River

Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:36 am

Saturday PM update:

Just got back from skiing the deep!  Today was unreal…

Unfortunately, winds halted the fun up north where PowMow was closed for the day and Snowbasin opened with limited terrain.  We knew winds could be a factor today… I wish I could say we are in the clear tomorrow, but unfortunately, it will be another risk.

Snow was almost constant all day today in BCC where I was — heavy at times.  I measured 18″ of new snow since yesterday afternoon, plus about 8″ from Thursday night… puts BCC at over 2 feet.  LCC is a bit behind as they aren’t quite as favored in a SW flow, but they are still doing just fine with 18″ or so storm total.   Reports from PC side of the crest suggest very good skiing there as well with upwards of 15″ being reported.

We are in a bit of a lull this afternoon, but the next wave is already moving into the state and I suspect it will start snowing heavily again by this evening.  This wave will clear out by Sunday morning with just light snow expected to start the ski day tomorrow (first chair will be critical in finding the best pow).  Here is an infrared of the next wave moving toward us, you can see the one from this morning clearing out.  (Dark colors = more moisture):


The next, and final, wave will move into Utah Sunday afternoon into Sunday night.  We will start to clear out during the day on Monday.  Overall another 10-20″ expected by Monday with perhaps more in places.  Wouldn’t be surprised if some areas got 4-foot storm totals (Beaver Mountain is already almost there).  WSF




SNOW!  High elevation snow continues today.  Snow reports from the last 24 hours range from 5 to 20 inches of new snow with plenty more on the way!  Snow continues above 7,000 feet tonight and tomorrow before winding down on Monday.  More storms possible for Northern Utah by the middle of next week.


Warm advection snow continued yesterday, mostly up north.  Another wave moved into the area overnight and pushed precip far enough south to bring snow to the Cottonwoods and PC.  24-hour totals range from 12-20″ up north, 5-12″ in the Cottonwoods (all falling last night),  8-15″ along the PC ridge and 8″ at Sundance.  The forecast was for 5-10″ overnight and it looks like we bettered that.  Our storm totals since Wednesday afternoon now sit at 10-15″ in PC, 11-20″ in the Cottonwoods, and 15-20″ in the Northern Wasatch.  The winner so far is Beaver Mountain which, if my calculations are correct, has already seen >40″ of snow since Wednesday!

Additional snowfall today above 7,000 feet,  Another 4-8″ likely during the day today before another strong wave pushes in tonight with an additional 5-10″ of snow by morning.  Another wave tomorrow could add a final 4-8″.  At this point it looks like the cold front for Monday is splitting a bit so we might clear out sooner than anticipated.  Shouldn’t affect overall totals too much with 1-3 feet still likely.  (We are already over a foot in most places).

Here is the NAM-WRF projected snowfall before all is said and done… still up to two additional feet possible!


Wind is still a concern but current wind gusts don’t look too insane.  Unfortunately I think they will increase this afternoon ahead of the next wave of energy.  Be prepared for wind holds on some exposed lifts today.  Also a good day for Gore-tex with the high water content of the snow.  At this point, I’m feeling a little better with regard to our risk for rime.  It’s still a possibility, but perhaps not a likelihood anymore.

You can see how much wind-induced snow transport was going on at Snowbird last night:


Long range:

Another storm poised to move into Northern Utah on Wednesday. It’s not really “long range”, but with so much happening in the short term, it feels like it.  At this point it looks to affect mainly far northern Utah from about Provo north.  Details still need to be worked out, but it looks like another strong moisture tap that will bring a chance for high elevation snow through the end of the work week.  Time for me to hit the hill!


P.S.  Snowbasin is reporting 12″ of new snow.  But I watched their snow stake pile up to 10″ yesterday, then get cleared, the pile up to 10″ again overnight.  Would not be surprised at all if they had more than they are reporting on the upper mountain.



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  • Frank T.

    Great news! Traveling to PC in 8 days and hoping this upcoming week stays snowy. Looks like I will be bringing my powder skis. Thanks for the updates.

  • Tram

    Great forecast! Btw pcmr reporting storm total of 18″ wind could be. A factor

  • Happycow

    Arriving from CA today for a week at PowMow and have been glued to your blog for 10 days. First time skiing in Utah. Sounds like the worst we can expect is conditions that would make for a great week in the Sierras. Am I reading you right?

    • Yep…should be great. PowMow is closed today however, and who know about tomorrow. Keep that in mind!

  • The Snowbasin snow stake often does not match up with the official snow report–confusing!

    • Evren Karpak

      Amanda, I have noticed the very same thing. But after a few of these, I tend to go with the report, not the stake, which seems prone to wind drift. Yesterday, it did not accumulate much at all after the open but did get moved around a lot.

  • Laura

    Great report WSF! Can’t wait to get out there and enjoy it all. Weather reports show Monday being clearer than previously reported all along i80 from CA to PC. Are you seeing the same break in the storms on Mondayinto Tuesday?

  • D-Mack

    Best day of the year at Snow Basin! They announced that the mountain was closed for the day at about 10:15 and the majority of people left. A few of us stuck around to see what would happen and sure enough they opened John Paul at about noon and then Needles Gondola shortly after! I bet there was less than 500 people total all day! SICK!!!! What a day!

  • McTanner

    I’m with D-Mack on that^
    It was prime

  • Shoeless

    Any word on snowbasin for Sunday? The winds appear to be only in the teens for tomorrow.