Complexities of Change

Friday, February 20, 2015 at 6:47 am


Much cooler today! Snow showers in the mountains of northern Utah today with scattered snow showers through the weekend.  Southern and Central Utah looking at a chance for more significant snowfall late Sunday and Monday.  Pattern changes still on for the end of the month.


Storm is moving into the area today.  Cold front is just pushing through the region this morning (6:30am) and can be seen on the SLC radar firing up some mountain snow showers:


Due to dry lower levels, most valley locations are probably not even seeing the precip reach the ground, however the mountains should be getting at least light snow right now.   These snow showers should continue throughout the day as instability increases in a post-frontal airmass.  Additional weak waves will move into the area through tomorrow to keep occasional, light snow going for parts of the Wasatch.  This is not an impressive system for Northern Utah mountains and I’d expect accumulations to be light.

Through Sunday morning, accumulations should generally be under 4″, however we can’t rule out persistent banding that could lead to amounts of up to 6″ in favored areas.  Not really a deep weekend by any stretch of the imagination, but the cooler air will feel nice and there is opportunity to be surprised.  As I mentioned yesterday, watch radar and webcams and if you see one area getting hit harder than anticipated, go there.

The next event in this complex storm system is a stalled boundary that is likely to set-up and strengthen in southern and/or central Utah.  This boundary could bring SIGNIFICANT snowfall to a narrow area Sunday and Monday.   This snowfall will extend east into Colorado generally along the I-70 corridor down to the San Juans.  Last year, I believe also in February we saw this happen and many resorts like Beaver Creek and Vail saw impressive snow.  Another event similar to this occurred in November 2014 and dumped a couple feet or more on the I-70 resorts.  It will be interesting to watch.  Brian Head, Eagle Point (closed weekdays), and other mountain areas in southern/central Utah should be on high alert for powder.

The question is, where exactly does this boundary set up?  Most models have it mostly in south-central Utah.  Both the GFS and Euro generally agree it’s about here:


The WRF and NAM models are still a bit out-of-range, but generally look like they want to place it a bit farther north:


Location is important because for areas like Brian Head, it could mean the difference between big snow and no snow…  Wherever it ends up stalling, mountains underneath it could see 1-2 feet of snow if current projections are accurate.  It’s enough to get my attention!

By Tuesday this stalled boundary should weaken and move east, we’ll see a warm up and a couple days of dry weather.  By Thursday of next week the storm track starts to nudge its way back into the region as the pattern begins a more substantial flip.  As is often the case, the models are struggling with details during the pattern change.  There is just too much going on and each model run has a different solution.  Right now it looks like we will definitely see colder air again and chances for snow late next week into next weekend.  Whether or not it will be significant snowfall or not is still up in the air.  We have no choice by to wait a few days for all the details to be ironed out.

Overall, we are getting increasingly winter-like and active!  Seems like only a matter of time before we are all skiing deep powder again!


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  • Spank Tickleman

    FINALLY! I’m sick of wearing shorts and tank tops…

  • JR

    Snowing pretty good in PC right now! Nice surprise to wake up to.

  • Anna

    So perfect! The storm is following my travel pattern! I’ll be hitting Sundance all weekend and then proceeding to Brian Head and Eagle Point next weekend. Hopefully the accumulation is significant enough to result in next weekend being a powdery blast as well!

    Protip: Eagle Point lift tix are dirt cheap on!

    Any thoughts on what the action will be like mid-week in Park City?

  • Lee

    Been reading this blog every day this winter. I am flying in tonight to SLC ready to be back in my home away from home. Like everyone else has said AWESOME blog. I am jamming the refresh button all morning.
    What are the chances you think we could see a lake effect band setting up over LCC?

  • cb

    1.5″ in Pinebrook this hour with no sign of letting up. Any chance this is coming in bigger than forecast?

  • H

    Really appreciate all your hard work in providing the rest of us with great weather info that we can understand. Thank you Evan. Bring on the pow!

  • Christopher

    Coming in Sunday, I have heard a lot of reports of rocks and thin base conditions at the canyons and pcmr. With the cold weather what is the chance that both resorts haul ass and start making snow to help the lack of coverage?

  • brig

    Maybe someone put a quarter in the machine …finally.

  • Addie

    Alta has some surprisingly sweet spots hiding out there off Collins. I kid you not I had one rogue pocket in a shute with 2 face shots, but that was just luck. The 2-3″ or so of fresh is light and the breeze is helping the drift prone areas. Pleasantly surprised today…maybe lake effect is going to keep giving this weekend.

  • Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

    Any update on the Brian Head situation. I’m thinking of driving in for about 5 hours of skiing on Monday morning and then driving back to California. I don’t want to make the drive for 6-8 inches of snow. But for 12-20, I’m in!

    • Such a tough call. This is the link to the 12z run of the WRF-GFS composite:

      If the boundary sets up there or a bit south of that, then we are golden. But if it sets up farther north, Brian Head could be too far south to see the best snow. I’m watching every model run carefully… This is the best I can offer you right now. If you can afford to wait until midday tomorrow before pulling the trigger on the drive, hopefully we’ll have a better idea then.

      • Will it ever snow again in Tahoe?

        Excellent. Thank you!

  • Steve

    So NWS Cottonwood Canyon forecast now says storm total of 5-10 inches. Wishful thinking?

    • Nah, it’s definitely possible, if anybody is going to get any decent accumulations in this type of pattern, it will be LCC. But it’ll be showery and spread out over the next 48 hours, and we already saw 2 or 3 inches of that this morning….