Bad news. Models have been dropping like flies over the past 24 hours with regard to bringing us storms late next week. Right now it looks like the ridge over the intermountain west will remain stronger than earlier anticipated and deflect storms north of the area. We could get brushed with some energy but I have low confidence in that right now. To be honest, right now the pattern does not look good for us for the next two weeks and perhaps longer. Miracle March is looking less likely. The Winter of our Discontent continues…
Warm and dry is the story for the next week with Spring conditions. A chance for storms late next week although details are vague at this point.
Really nothing to talk about… We will continue to get warmer through the weekend with Spring conditions developing. It’s going to feel like May on the mountain. Late next week we should get a cool down and most models have some sort of storm energy reaching the area although they disagree on timing/strength. At this point it doesn’t look overly impressive to my eyes, but there’s plenty of time for that to change… We’ll just keep watching and see how it evolves…
For much of February I was touting the potential for a pattern change for the last week of the month. That pattern change came, hung around for about 12 days, and now has left with the introduction of another pattern change — this time reverting back to high pressure. Unfortunately for the Wasatch, it wasn’t until this very last storm that we were favored. Storms were rolling through the west, but most of the strong energy focused farther south on Southern Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern Colorado.
Here is a look at the numbers…
Webster Flat (near Brian Head) saw incredible improvements in snowpack with this last storm (blue line), essentially doubling their snowpack and leaving last year (green line) in the dust. Unfortunately, even with these impressive gains, they still remain just below the median (purple line).
Snowbird, and most other Wasatch sites, saw only modest gains:
Snowbird is only at 76% of the median and is 2-3 inches of liquid behind last year. This is the same story at most Wasatch locations.
Before the pattern change, this was the state of snowpack across the West on Feb 20:
Notice the poor numbers in Southern Utah as well as the Wasatch and Uintas.
Now here is the same map from yesterday:
Huge gains were made in Southern Utah to bring the region to near normal! Big gains also for the earlier mentioned areas like Arizona (where Arizona Snow Bowl outside Flagstaff got 81″ of snow in 9 days), New Mexico, and Southern Colorado. The Wasatch saw numbers generally improve a few percentage points, but overall we did little more than hold serve during the pattern change, which is a bit disappointing because it was a window to make up real ground and we just couldn’t quite get the storms to deliver the way we needed them. Now, as mentioned in the forecast above, we are facing another dry/warm spell, so I expect the numbers to start falling again over the next week.
Understandably, I get this question a lot, “I’m planning a trip for (insert time frame here) and I’m worried there will be no snow at (insert place here), should I cancel my trip?” If that is something you wanted to ask, I’ll refer you to the Snowbird graph above. Despite being at 76% of the median, we still have the average snowpack of the second week of February and our snowpack normally keeps increasing until late April. In short, there’s still a lot of snow up there, especially in the Cottonwoods. Hopefully that puts your mind at ease.