Going off the rails on the Pineapple Express

Friday, February 14, 2014 at 6:59 am


Snow will fall above 8,000 feet today off and on, with rain showers below that.  Not too much accumulation expected.  Quick moving cold front will move through Sunday afternoon and give us a chance for a few inches.  More storms likely mid to late next week.


More of the same today with copious cloud cover and occasional rain showers with snow above 8,000 ft.  Over the past 24 hours, we’ve seen a additional amounts of 2-3″ up north, 3-5″ along the PC ridge and 5-7″ in the Cottonwoods.  That brings the 2-day storm totals to 6-12″ in the Northern Wasatch, 12-15″ in the Cottonwoods, and 8-12″ for PC ridge.  Liquid amounts have ranged from 1-2″, which is certainly enough to further boost snowpack numbers.

Yesterday we saw some convective storms develop in the afternoon with rumbles of thunder, brief heavy rain (or snow above 8,000 feet), and a general summer-like feel.  A few resorts had to put lifts on lightning hold while the storms passed by.  With afternoon heating, this may be possible again later today.  Believe it or not, the airmass has warmed even further since yesterday and snow levels should run about 500-1000ft higher.  You can see our tropical moisture feed is still there, just pointed farther north and not quite as strong as it was over the weekend:


Tomorrow we will finally dry out with some sunshine and WARM temperatures.  Highs in the valley will be near 60 with 40s on the mountain and 30s on the peaks.  Near records!

The next system moves in on Sunday.  This is a fast-moving cold front.  I think there will be a short-lived burst of snow Sunday afternoon but the snow should start to taper off on Sunday evening with only a few inches accumulation likely.  It should be enough to soften things up for President’s Day Monday.  It is also a colder system, so snow levels will drop down to 6000 feet or lower.

Monday and Tuesday look dry and warm again before a deeper trough starts to dig into the area Tuesday night.  The first cold front will move through during the day Wednesday with widespread snow and snow levels dropping down to lower valleys of Northern Utah.  A break on Thursday before another, possibly stronger, system moves in for Thursday night and Friday with additional snowfall for most of the state.  Still too early to pinpoint amounts, but at this point they will likely be at least moderate.

Long range:

Not much agreement in the models beyond next Friday.  Some ensembles are trying to push a ridge over the West while others keep an active pattern going.  MJO is strengthening into unfavorable phases right now.  This, coupled with the fact that we’ve been in an active pattern for almost 3 weeks, leads me to believe that a break in the action would make sense.  However, at this point it’s impossible to say with any certainty.


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6 thoughts on “Going off the rails on the Pineapple Express

  1. Faceplant

    I was listening to a radio program about clean air and they said that they could confidently forecast an inversion one month out. This was broadcast in late January and they forecast a strong inversion for the end of February. I’ve been waiting to see how accurate they are but it looks like they might be right. Are they just lucky or have they developed some new model that’s better than the others?

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Believe it or not, I can actually forecast inversion nearly a year away. In fact, I’m currently forecasting an inversion to develop sometime during January 2015 😉

      In all seriousness, I don’t think they really have any way to forecast inversions that far out. Inversions result from high pressure and stagnant air. If they can forecast that, then they should also be able to forecast low pressure and storms — which we all know is impossible that far out (despite Accuweather’s attempts). We can see general trends towards high pressure up to two weeks out, but a month? Nah. I’d love a link to this radio program if you have one. Thanks!

  2. Sam

    Not much agreement in the models beyond next Friday….

    For those of us arriving 2-22 (I can count at least 3 from comments..) What do the diferent models suggest?

    Fab Feb for the first half only? When you look at all those previous SWE totals, looks like once febraury gets going it’s usually pretty steady. Yeah?

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