One for the South… Probably….

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 7:11 am


A weak feature will bring a chance for light valley rain and mountain snow showers to mostly Central and Southern Utah late Saturday into Saturday night.  A stronger system will move into the state on Monday, however the exact track of this system remains uncertain.


We’ve got a system splitting off the west coast today, eventually the southern split of this system will meander into southern Utah late on Saturday.  Expect snow in the mountains of southern and central Utah.  Snowfall amounts should be light, generally in the 2-4″ range above 7,000ft south of Provo.  There is a chance this could take a more northerly track and bring mountains near SLC some snowfall, but at best it’ll just be a couple inches Saturday night.

The stronger system is moving into Utah out of the northwest on Monday.  GFS has now been consistently showing this system dropping west of the Wasatch and into Eastern Nevada before cutting through Southern Utah.   In this scenario, Northern Utah mountains would likely only receive a few inches of snow with Southern Utah seeing the more significant amounts.  Yesterday, the 12z Euro also shifted to this more westerly scenario.  The 00z EC this morning, however, went back in the direction of a more direct hit for the entire state — making the forecast a tough call.

Personally, I think the consistency of the GFS is telling.  From experience, these systems that “close off’ generally close off sooner than models expect and end up tracking farther south than anticipated.  Therefore, unless the GFS moves toward the EC, I think we can expect Southern Utah to see the brunt of this system.   Right now I would guess we’ll be looking at 6-12″ of snowfall for southern Utah mountains with 3-6” for the Wasatch late Monday into Tuesday morning.  I will probably update again today around noon as the latest model suite comes in and we have a better idea.

Long range:

We go back to ridging by the middle of next week.  Inversions should redevelop and perhaps be a bit worse this time around as we’ll be starting with colder air.  It looks like our next chance for a storm will be January 19th or so…   Still waiting for a lare-scale pattern change…


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17 thoughts on “One for the South… Probably….

  1. Steve

    The rule is that the model with less snow will win out. Grrrr…….! Would love to see an exception to the rule.

  2. Luke

    Coming to SLC for the second time and for the second time the snow is below average 🙁 hoping for some snow for Jan 26-31

  3. Tim Bowers

    As the 12Z models start coming in, the NAM model is wetter than before. That’s encouraging. While the vortmax on the GFS for the Monday event is just northwest of Tahoe, the NAM has it slightly north and east and over Reno. That itself brings the energy closer, if still not close enough for the truly fun stuff, but enough to coat the ground with a few inches. In my eyes, and before the Euro is out, I’m looking at 1-3″ Saturday and 3-4″ Monday.

  4. Ross

    Live if Florida, just came from a great ski trip in Snowbird/Solitude/Alta, and I got a season pass for the Bird, which I plan to use later in the year.

    1. How is late Feb./early March for the pow?

    2. When I was there, a lot of Snowbird terrain gates were closed, and only opened after the snow was too heavy for fun turns, and I got the feeling that they were more skittish about closing off-piste terrain compared to other resorts. Is this common for later in the year, or does the snowpack traditionally settle enough by then so that the fresh pow can be enjoyed before the sun and wind ruin it?

    Thanks for all the local knowledge!

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Late Feb and March are probably the best times for powder… Fairly good chance for storms and limited crowds. Many resorts take longer to open gates early in the season due to more obstacles that need to be roped off, etc. There is definitely a push recently to make sure inbounds terrain is safe and stable before opening. I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon, especially after fresh snowfall.

      1. Tim Bowers

        Sorry. I forgot rule #3 of western winter troughs: Do not talk about western winter troughs if more than 5 days away.

        1. Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

          Is there a free version of the Euro long-range forecast? I’ve never been able to find anything other than paid versions.

  5. kody

    Going on a yurt excursion in the Uintas this weekend/early next week. Any idea how these little disturbances will effect snowfall/temps up there? I’ll be on the north slope and don’t have a whole lot of experience in winter up there.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Uintas should see some snowfall this weekend and again late Monday into Tuesday, but like the Wasatch, the amounts are very much dependent on the exact track up the upcoming system. Probably won’t be overly significant.

  6. Tim Bowers

    After looking at more 18z models, I have the feeling that the mid-Saturday to Monday period will produce many happy smiles in the Wasatch. Not late December totals but rather a nice refresh to the currently shrinking pack.

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