An active pattern is set to begin in Utah. A slight chance for mountain snow flurries today with cooler temps. A stronger storm will bring snow to the mountains of Northern Utah on Wednesday, lingering into Thursday.
A weak initial disturbance will bring clouds, cooler temps and a chance for a few light snow showers, mainly in the mountains of far northern Utah today. A break Tuesday ahead of the main system which pushes into the region early Wednesday morning.
Models runs have been consistent over the past few days with regard to how they handle this system. Widespread precip will push into the area Wednesday morning with a decently strong cold front. Snow levels will drop down to 5000-5500 feet by mid-morning. Snow should taper during the afternoon but showers will persist likely into Thursday morning with additional accumulations possible, especially in areas like the Cottonwoods.
QPF thru Friday AM:
Major models currently portraying between .8″ and 1″ of liquid for the Upper Cottonwoods. Assuming an average of 12:1 ratios, that would mean about 9-12″…. with orographic enhancement, it’s possible they could see a touch more. For Park City resorts, amounts will likely be lighter, probably in the 5-10″ for the upper mountain and a few inches at the base.
Right now, Wednesday is probably the day for storm day powder. Thursday will see snow showers, but will likely be a first chair = best chair day. I’ve only skied twice in the past month while I’ve nursed an injured ankle, but I’ll be up there this week. Hoping for one last powder fix to get me through the summer!
Huge differences between the operational runs of the models. GFS brings in a decently strong storm this Sunday. Euro brings us little other than a few clouds. Unfortunately, the Euro has more ensemble support so for now I think it is the most likely scenario. Probably only a weak brush-by system this weekend.
Big differences for next week as well. GFS is much more favorable for continued active Wx while the Euro favors ridging to return. We’ll wait and see.
The active pattern we are experiencing now is likely fueled by the MJO and the PNA (see below):
The MJO (top image) has finally been cruising thru favorable phases 1-4 for the past week. There is usually a bit of a lag, but eventually it translates to more active weather in the west. We haven’t seen the MJO in these phases hardly at all for the past two winters. At the same time, the PNA (bottom image) has now gone negative. Last time it was negative coincided with the stormy pattern in late Feb and early March. The two indexes are both likely contributing to the active pattern. Unfortunately for us, this time of year the oceanic and atmospheric conditions are much less conducive for storm development. Had this happened a couple months ago, we’d probably be looking at stronger storms and a more extended pattern change. But as it is, Spring has entered the fight and will ultimately win this battle, no matter how favorable these indices are.