Snow showers will develop later today with steadier snowfall possible overnight. Accumulations should be light with 1-4″ above 7,000 feet. Another system, focusing mostly on Southern Utah, is likely to impact the area Friday/Saturday. Additional storm energy possible next week.
After weeks of virtually nothing in the forecast to talk about, we now have three separate systems of note in the next 10 days. Now, if we weren’t coming off the heels of an extended dry period, this would be nothing special. But we are, so it does feel at least refreshing to be forecasting snowfall again.
Tuesday-Wednesday: The first system moves in today. The main energy from this is moving in from the south a la monsoon fashion. It is moving into the Great Basin currently and should start pushing east through Northern Utah later this afternoon. There isn’t a ton of moisture or dynamics associated with this system so totals won’t be all that high. Snow levels will also start at 7,000 feet or higher today and gradually lower to 6000 feet or so tonight. Right now I think we are likely to be at 1-4″ of fresh snow by tomorrow morning. With a little luck, hopefully we can get surprised!
Thursday: A break day.
Friday-Saturday: Another, stronger system works its way north from Mexico into the desert Southwest. This one looks like it will focus more on Southern Utah and Arizona as well as the San Juans of Colorado and mountains of New Mexico. Northern Utah will likely at least see a little bit, but our amounts up north are very dependent on the track of this system. It will likely only bring a few more inches to the Wasatch. But we’ll keep you updated over the next two days. Heading south and east is your best bet if you want to go powder chasing this weekend. Silverton, Durango, Wolf Creek…?
Sunday-Monday: These look to be break days again as the pattern undergoes a temporary shift.
Tuesday-Wednesday (February 3-4): A moist west or northwesterly flow could develop. Yesterday’s 12z ECMWF was very optimistic and got my attention. Today’s 00z was not quite as good. The GFS is also showing moisture streaming into the region during this period. Needless to say, there are still a lot of questions about this potential system. It does not look major at this time but at least it’s something. Better than being totally dry!
Looking deep into the models I still see more signals favoring west coast ridging than anything else. What we need is a few weeks of constant storm energy and with our current pattern that just won’t happen. Hopefully a major pattern change develops sooner rather than later. At least we have some weak systems in the interim.
Watching East Coast storm coverage on CNN this morning, their resident meteorologist was touting the new upgraded GFS as the clear winner in forecasting this storm. He went as far as to say that we can now stop using the Euro. Curious, I went back and looked at yesterday’s 12z run of the ECMWF and it looks extremely close to what fell overnight, with the highest totals in and around the Boston area with half that amount in the New York metro area. The upgraded GFS is still unproven and hopefully it will help us forecast snow better, but right now I still put the most trust in the Euro model — despite what Mr. CNN says. Also, the drivers of significant snowfall on the East Coast are very different from those in the intermountain West, so it’s not a like-for-like comparison. It will be interesting for the rest of the winter to see how our shiny new GFS performs.