Dry and very mild through Friday. Storm moves in Friday night with snowfall developing and continuing into Saturday, along with much colder temps.
Status quo today and tomorrow with dry, warm weather. Friday will be warm as well but we’ll see the wind pick up ahead of our next system.
The next system is a splitter… I’ve been saying all along that it will split to at least some degree and the models continue to fall into line regarding the split. It looks like it will move ashore in California as a consolidated system and start splitting as it crosses Nevada on Friday. The southern split will drop south in southern Utah and Arizona while the northern split will bring precipitation to Northern Utah and Southern Idaho. It does look like most of the state will see some rain and/or snow, however amounts will be limited due to the disorganized nature of the system.
So how much can we expect in the mountains? That’s a tough call. Yesterday I said a foot would be possible if everything went our way. Well, after another day of model runs it seems less likely to go our way. Right now I think 3-6″ is reasonable for most areas with a few pockets seeing higher amounts. This will mostly fall Friday night and Saturday morning. The skiing could be good on Saturday. But at the same time, the rapidly cooling temps could freeze the top layer of the this week’s snow and create a gnarly dust-on-crust scenario. The more snow we get to cover that crust the better.
We should start to clear out late Saturday but a few snow showers could linger in the mountains into Sunday. One thing is for sure, we’ll be much cooler behind this system — which at the very least will allow resorts to resume snowmaking.
The long range pattern is a war between a progressive (active) pattern to our west and a ridge just to our east. As systems move into the west coast, they encounter high pressure and weaken and/or split. Each model run has had slightly different ideas with regard to how successful these systems will be at breaking through the ridge and making it to Utah. For example, the 00z GFS showed virtually no storm energy making it to Utah next week. It’s subsequent run, the 06z GFS, showed a decent system for middle of next week and perhaps again the following weekend (Dec 20-21). The inconsistency leads to poor forecasting confidence. In short, we’ll have to wait and see. Mother Nature is trying to send us storms but this gd high pressure ridge is ruining it for everybody!