A Tale of Two Storms

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 8:17 am


Colder air and some snow will move into the area on Thursday.  A break for the weekend before the next system brings even more cold air and another shot at snow.


A gorgeous sunrise over the Salt Lake Valley as I type this. Long ribbons of clouds stretching from northwest to southeast, illuminated red by the rising sun.  Of course, this is all occurring above our beloved Wasatch peaks.  I’m reminded of the old saying about “red skies in the morning, sailors take warning” — hoping there’s some truth to it.

We’ve had a remarkably warm fall, but the first cold system is pushing toward the area today.  It is splitting as it does so, and is very unorganized.  Here is a look at it on the satellite:


The system’s southern branch will dive into the desert southwest today while the northern branch eventually affects Utah tomorrow.  This is fairly unorganized, but it’s a good, cool northwest flow that should bring showers on Thursday with a snow level of about 6,500 feet or so.   Accumulations by Friday morning will be in the 2-4″ range above 8000′.  It’s possible that Cottonwoods could get to 6″ or so if things go well for us.  Still, a small storm by Wasatch standards.

We will clear out for the weekend with pleasant enough weather for annual candy solicitation night.

Next storm moves in on Monday.  This storm will be even colder with snow levels dropping down to the benches, perhaps even the valley floor.  As mentioned yesterday, this system is closing off to our west and may send the best energy to the Sierra, then eventually south of us.  The hope is that we will still get a good shot of moisture with the cold front, then more snow as the low itself ejects eastward.  Lots of uncertainty associated with closed lows like this, so for now the best bet is to just broadbrush Monday thru Wednesday of next week as active, cold with snow at times in Utah.  At this point, accumulations do not look major, but if things go our way, we could see halfway decent totals by early November standards.

As I said the other day, I wouldn’t get too excited.  Yes, there is colder air on the way.  Yes, we’ll get at least some snow.  But this is unlikely going to get us skiing immediately.  Hopefully ski resorts will be prepared to take advantage of the cold air and get the snow guns blowing on some of the key runs.

Long range: 

Some models are keeping energy associated with the closed low in the area as long as November 5th, but after that there is almost no agreement in the long range.  I don’t see any model consensus on any one particular storm, but at the same time, none of the major model ensemble means favor a blocking ridge either.  The hope is that as we move on, another storm will appear that will help us toward our goal of opening day.  Stay tuned…



P.S. Addendum… PC firing up the guns today:

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  • Steve “Gator” Wood

    PCMR blowing snow this morning! Seven year old son said, “I can see it blowing, they are making snow – YES!”