An active and complicated weather pattern will bring the area cold air and chances for snow for the next week. Very difficult to pinpoint best periods of snow, but the entire state should see mountain snow at times.
I’ve already spent well over an hour this morning pouring over model data and reading forecast discussions from around the west trying to figure out is going to happen during the next 7 days. It’s very complicated. Let’s break it down by time periods…
Wednesday (2/25): A weak initial wave is moving through and should bring some clouds to the area and perhaps a chance for a light snow shower in the mountains.
Thursday and Friday: A stronger wave moves into the region from the northwest on Thursday and should fire up snow showers in the mountains and perhaps even the valleys. This isn’t overly moist, but by midday Friday I expect up to a few inches to have fallen in the high mountains with perhaps 3-6″ in the Cottonwoods which do well to amplify the effects of a NW flow. Thursday and Friday won’t be deep ski days, but there could definitely be some powder to be had, especially in the Cottonwoods. Here is a NAM estimate for snowfall in the high Wasatch:
Saturday-Sunday: The first low pressure system that I talked about yesterday drops down the Pacific coast before eventually turning inland and heading toward the southern Great Basin. Snow showers should continue at times in the north, but southern Utah should see the brunt of this storm and it will set up similar to this past weekend’s storm. Significant accumulations possible down south….
Monday: Could be a bit of a break day as the first system finally exits the area…
Tuesday-Wednesday: Another system drops into the area. GEM and GFS have this as a quick-moving, but direct hit on northern Utah. ECMWF drops this farther west before moving it south of us again in the same fashion as earlier systems. In either scenario, the state should see more mountain snowfall, but the details are vague at this point.
Overall, it’s just a very complicated forecast with so many moving parts. The accumulations across northern Utah through this weekend should be modest, but with a long duration, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few showers here and there added up by the time all is said and done. Southern Utah will likely hold off until Saturday before it starts seeing snow. It is certainly possible that late Saturday thru Monday will be very snowy for places like Brian Head, however I’m not totally confident as some model runs take the best moisture south and east of the area again. The one location that does seem to be a sure bet is Southern Colorado. It’s a long drive, but if you’re desperate, Wolf Creek/Silverton/Durango/Telluride should all do very well this weekend with multiple feet of snow possible.
My general plan is to hang out here and hope to get lucky in the Wasatch on Thursday/Friday. Then watch the model runs carefully and perhaps pull the trigger on a trip down to either southern Utah or southwest Colorado if it looks like things are coming together.
Late next week into the following weekend it looks like we might see a break in the action with a ridge nudging closer to the coast. Long range ensembles suggest a return to more active weather may then be possible sometime around March 10th…. but that’s a long way out so there virtually no confidence in that right now.
Sorry for such a vague forecast… but it’s just impossible to pinpoint details right now. The important thing is that we have chances for snow virtually every day for the next 8 days. Like I mentioned with this past weekend’s storm. In this type of pattern, it’s important to keep your schedule flexible, keep an eye on webcams and radar, and be ready to pull the trigger on a road trip if one place gets hammered.