Quick Hitter, Part 2

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 6:42 am


A fast-moving cold front will move through the area today — producing a period of heavy snow today that will taper off this evening.  4-8″ with up to a foot in the Cottonwoods is likely from this front.  Clouds and occasional light snow showers through Saturday.  Dry and warm Sunday through Wednesday before storms return around the end of the month.


Cold front still progged to move through the Wasatch today bringing an intense period of precip to the area.  Here is a look at the current satellite imagery:



There is a weak lobe that is currently passing through Northern Utah, you can see that green blob.  That’s bringing a few light snow showers to the area right now but most of it is not hitting the ground.  The main feature of note is the front which you can see on a SW to NE axis through the SW corner of Idaho.  That is what will be bringing us our precip today.  The front might not look too impressive on the satellite, but it is quite strong.

Snow will start mid to late morning and continue through the early afternoon.  Steady snow should taper to snow showers by the evening commute.  This will drop snow levels to all valley floors and a quick few inches in SLC is not out of the question.  There is a decent amount of convection with this front as well, which means another good possibility for lightning with the front.  Don’t be surprised to see another lightning hold on the lifts at some point today.  As usual, these holds are usually short-lived and occur during periods of heavy snow, so just think of it as letting the runs fill in for when they take the lifts off hold again.  The other thing to watch out for is wind, it could be quite breezy today, even behind the front.  I don’t think it’ll be strong enough to close the lifts, but it may makes things feel cold up there.

While this front is intense and cold, the duration of the snow is short and therefore will limit totals.  I think 4-8″ is a good blanket amount for the Wasatch mountains, but there could be places that see up to a foot.  This is a last chair today, first chair tomorrow type of storm.  Which day is better largely depends on how much you like storm skiing with heavy snow and limited visibility.

A cool northwest flow tomorrow should keep us mostly cloudy but dry until another weak front grazes us on Friday and will give us a shot for a few more snow showers with light accumulation.

By Sunday, it’ll be full-on break time as we dry out through Wednesday with warm temps.

Long range:

Pattern change back to storminess still looks likely.  The amplified ridge is going to get undercut by a strong jet.  This is a full breakthrough of the westerlies, something we haven’t seen too often in the last 2.5 years.  First storm could move in as early as Thursday, Feb 27 with the possibility for subsequent systems into the first week of March.  Not going to get into too much detail until this weekend when we have a clearer picture. However, as we get closer and all models continue to agree on the change, our confidence continues to grow.


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  • Mike Mc

    hoping for that foot!

  • Dot Blipman

    What does a “breakthrough of the westerlies” mean?

  • Sam
  • Geoff

    I’m hoping to hit Snowbasin tomorrow. Do you see that area getting some good snowfall today, or will the Cottonwoods get all the good stuff?

    • Yes, snowbasin will get snow. Perhaps not as much as the Cottonwoods as Snowbasin isn’t as favored in this pattern. But they should be in the 4-8″ range.

  • Sydney

    out there all week next week. Any Ideas on the best places to hit? Best chance for snow?

  • jughead

    looks like its nuking in BCC

  • smuttyb

    any more thoughts as to the this afternoon or tomorrow morning being the “time”? debating leaving work early or coming in late tomorrow.

  • Steve

    CPC’s 6-14 day forecast looks good. Really like the consistency of the GFS operational models.

  • Peter

    Was that it? Snowbird is reporting 3″ so far and that looks generous versus its snow stake. Was thinking about going up to Brighton for some night time storm riding on gentle terrain, but not for a measly skied out 3″. Is it gonna snow any more anytime soon?

  • Dot Blipman

    yeah the radar is looking weak and it’s clearing out bigtime to the west…. hopefully that wasn’t the whole event!

  • Walt Whitman

    Maybe I’m crazy, but this is what I notice. This morning the Cottonwoods forecast said 8-14″. Your forecast was for 4-8″. I feel like every time there’s that big of a difference, it means that you’re not confident in the storm and it usually ends up being a dud. Why are the Cottonwood forecasts so crazy high this year?

    Also, I saw that they adjusted the totals down to 4-8″ in the afternoon update.

    • Don’t have an answer for you, Walt. Remember, I did say there was a possibility for a foot in the Cottonwoods if orographics really kicked in during the afternoon. Right now instability looks marginal, so we probably will end up in the 4-8″ range. This was always just going to be a “quick hitter”… Hence the title.

  • Dot Blipman

    a quick hitter, huh? sounds like my ex-wife…. she comes in, signs the papers, leaves in two years with half the cash!!!

  • andrew

    I don’t know the exact totals, but it was puking snow at Brighton from 9-1, when i unfortunately had to leave to catch a flight. Tons of powder and great overall conditions, which were only getting better as the day progressed.

  • Steelydad

    Your forecast was spot-on (at least for Brighton) down to even the wind. It was windy, even severe at times. It didn’t hurt my feelings, though. It just meant more fresh dust. Thanks for the awesome work you do. Brighton again tomorrow…first lift!