A break in the action today and early tomorrow before the next moisture tap takes aim at Northern Utah. Another round of valley rain and wet heavy snow above 8,000 feet is likely through Friday. A break this weekend before the potential for more, colder storms next week.
It was an excellent last five or six days for the Wasatch and for snow lovers. The totals posted yesterday didn’t really change too much. Some places in the Wasatch saw 45″ of snow or more with as much as 7″ of liquid!!! Hugely beneficial to our water resources! Unfortunately, avalanche danger was extreme as we knew it would be in this type of scenario and the Wasatch saw its first two avalanche fatalities of the season. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims.
A break today and early Wednesday will be short-lived as the next system moves into the Pac NW. This system is tracking farther north than the previous system but will still dig enough to aim a moisture tap (atmospheric river) at far northern Utah. Because we are on the periphery and it is not quite as moist as the last system, our totals won’t be nearly as high as the past weekend. The storm will also focus most of it’s energy north of SLC and in areas favored by a SW flow. Snow should start above 6,500 feet Wednesday afternoon in far northern Utah and spread south to I-80 late Wednesday night into Thursday. Snow levels will rise during the event as high as 8,000 feet (possibly) higher. Here is the NAM’s QPF through Friday midday:
You can see the precipitation is focused north of SLC with up to 2 inches of additional liquid. Places like the Cottonwoods and PC will only see modest amounts with off and on rain/snow through Friday. Right now I think 3-6″ for the Cottonwoods/PC above 8,000 feet by Friday morning with 6-12+” above 8,000 feet in the Northern Wasatch.
A break over the weekend as the moisture retreats north again. A slightly cooler wave will pass quickly through the area Sunday night into Monday bringing the potential for some President’s Day powder.
Models continue to indicate that we’ll ridge up for Tuesday and Wednesday of next week before a deeper, colder trough will move into the Western US. Too early to know any details, but it will likely give us more chances for snow for the second half of next week.
As promised, here is a snowpack analysis…
The storm did well at Snowbird, which jumped up to catch 2012, but still lags behind last year and ever further behind average. Snowbird has about 75% of average SWE now:
Luckily, Snowbird is faring worse than about any other Wasatch snotel station. Just over the ridge, here’s what Brighton looks like:
Brighton leapfrogged both of the last two years and is now at 84% of average.
Farther north, things look even better. Tony Grove is now above average and spiked up tremendously this weekend. In fact, on Feb 1st they had 13″ of SWE, now they have 25″. Almost doubling your snowpack in 10 days is pretty good.
I would normally show you the basin wide snowpack map, but there seems to be some technical difficulties with it this morning and it won’t generate….hopefully tomorrow. It does look like the Far Northern Wasatch is now around normal as well as the Western Uintas. The Ogden valley surrounding mountains are at about 90% of normal and the Cottonwoods/PC are in the 75-85% range. A huge improvement! With more moisture in the forecast, the numbers won’t look bad at all as we enter March, which is often our biggest month for snowfall.