Surprise powder always feels deeper….

Monday, December 15, 2014 at 6:21 am

We have now officially wrapped up our weekend storm. If you were outside the Cottonwoods, the storm behaved exactly as predicted — 3-6″ with higher amounts in southern Utah. However, Saturday night and Sunday we saw an extended period of orographically generated snowfall with even a bit of lake enhancement. This brought much higher totals to the Cottonwoods, especially Alta, which reported 16″ since Friday afternoon. Reports from the mountain suggest it skied even deeper than that. ┬áThis is exactly why, when we had our bleak forecast last week, I said that at least we had storm energy in play. When you got a storm, even a disorganized one, you’ll at least have the opportunity for a surprise.

This upcoming week will feature a few disturbances. None look very strong. The first one will be an advection wave in advance of the main trough. This wave will move thought Utah tonight and tomorrow morning. An inch or two will be possible in the mountains. The main trough itself moves in on Wednesday, but it will be dropping south. Most of its energy will affect southern Utah where a decent snowfall is possible. The Wasatch will likely only see a few scattered showers on Wednesday.

The next system after that moves in on Saturday. Big differences in the models currently. It’s looking weak but perhaps it will track more favorably for us than its predecessors. Again, no major storms, but at least we are staying active so the opportunity for them to over perform is there.

Looking deep into the crystal ball I see another wave which could move in Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Will Santa bring the greatest gift of all?


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13 thoughts on “Surprise powder always feels deeper….

  1. newton

    Alta/Snowbird got 266% more snow than the max you were predicting. I read and they were predicting 6-12 inches in those areas so it wasn’t unforeseeable. I come here for LCC forecasts, and I fell like you are minimizing how bad the forecast was there.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Yep, it was more than expected. But to be fair, the forecast was “3-6 inches with pockets of more in favored locations”… LCC is almost always a favored location. And I am 3000 miles away updating and checking models from my phone. I do forecast conservatively, especially when we are in a split pattern like now. Better to pleasantly surprised than disappointed. Glad I was wrong on this one!

    2. goatroper

      you need to go skiing and quit ur wailin’. more snow is better. look at the big picture, this site outperforms most local forecasts. care to put your skills up for evaluation, literally a monday morning quarterback, eh?

  2. Brad

    Keep up the good work. While forecasting is never perfect; in my experience following your forecasts you are far more right than wrong.

  3. Tram

    A few points:
    Nws cottonwood canyon forecast started at 2-5 and worked it’s way upto something like 10-14 by Sunday.
    Also the wasatch back was in his forecast range and really bcc was too.
    Lake enhancement seems to be beyond forecasting.
    Keep up the good work

  4. Steve

    Forecasting 3-6in “with higher amounts” is not really a useful forecast. Just add “with higher amounts” to every forecast and you’ll always get it

  5. AZ

    Just read this on the NOAA site:

    Seems like Santa may deliver??? thoughts?

  6. E

    Why is Newton complaining about us ending up with more snow in LCC than you thought? Can’t please some peeps! Keep up the good work.

    1. Mike

      You do some great work! Always much closer than the local TV weather stations. We have noticed many times that when there is a large delta between what WSF says and the weather stations it is usually a few days out and as the storm closes in they tend to move closer to what you’ve been saying all along! I like how I can usually count on you for what we can realistically expect out of a system and it is impossible for anyone to predict where a storm will stall or where we may get a little more lift than expected. Keep up to great work! Thanks for the insight, it has put me at the right place at the right time many times!

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