First Real Winter Storm

Friday, October 30, 2015 at 7:51 am

Saturday midday update… 12z NAM/GFS helped to alleviate my anxiety a bit… looking good.


Saturday update:

Storm is still on track for the most part.  Latest trends have been to stall the front to the north of the Wasatch even more so than before.  The main cold core will drop to our west.  This will delay the onset of heavier precipitation until late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.  If I’m honest, I’m not thrilled with the look of this system and am still anxious that we might struggle to see higher totals.  We’ll definitely see snow, but the totals might fall short of what models were suggesting a few days ago.   WSF





Most high elevation locations in Utah picked up some snow yesterday.  A break this weekend before our first strong winter storm of the season moves in late Monday.  Snow showers will linger for several days with decent accumulations likely.


Yesterday’s storm is now out of the area.  Really tough for me to know how much snow everybody picked up as the ski resorts aren’t reporting and the automated sensors aren’t always reliable with so little snow on the ground.  Based on webcams, it looked like 1-3″ was about right for most places.  Alta-Collins station shows 3″ of new snow.  It’s certainly possible that some favored locations picked up more.

We will have nice weather this weekend for trick-or-treaters.

All eyes are on the upcoming storm.  We’ve been talking about it for awhile.  This weekend it will be pummeling the PNW with 10+ feet of snow possible on Mt Rainier!  For us, not much has changed in the details but those details are becoming just a bit clearer as we get closer.  We are still just out of range of mesoscale models like the NAM, however.  Right now, it looks like a front will ever so slowly sag south during the day on Monday.  Places in the far northern Wasatch like Beaver Mountain could get a lot of snow on Monday during the day.

By Monday night, heavier snow will have filled in to the central Wasatch, including Cottonwoods and PC.  Snow should continue through Tuesday as the low pressure system itself drops south from the Pacific NW toward the Sierra Nevada and southern Great Basin.  This low, as mentioned previously, is closing off from the main flow.  This will allow cold air and snow showers to linger for several days after the initial front, so don’t be surprised if we see off and on snow showers through Thursday or even Friday.

Accumulations….  Since the onset of the storm is still 3-4 days away and it could linger out to day 7 or 8, accumulations are a tough ask at this point.   Here is a current map of expected snowfall:


Here is the GFES ensemble output for snow at Alta, UT:


This graph has a tendency to over-do things a bit.  So let’s take it with a grain of salt.  Personally, I think if everything goes our way, most Wasatch high elevations could see a foot of snow with perhaps up to 2 feet in favored locations.  But that is an ideal scenario, I think the most likely scenario is 6-12″ of snow above 7,000 feet with 12-18″ for favored locations like the Cottonwoods. Of course, this is all subject to change if the storm starts to look like it’s going to take a different track.  I’m anxiously watching.  I will be updating frequently this weekend via social media, so follow WSF on Facebook and Twitter (@WasatchSnow) if you don’t already.


P.S.  We still have advertising spots available for the upcoming winter.  WSF will likely receive upwards of 1.5 million unique page visits this winter.  If you or your company would like to support WSF and our shared passion for powder, please email

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7 thoughts on “First Real Winter Storm

  1. Brian

    In an El Nino season, the PNW is supposed to be drier than usual right? Seeing that they are getting a big dump this weekend, has the El Nino flow not really kicked in yet? Just seems a lot like the past few winters with the PNW getting a lot of snow and the storms splitting before hitting the Wasatch. Thoughts?

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      Yes, El Nino’s biggest effects really won’t kick in until December or even January when the jet strengthens and sags. Even then, it doesn’t mean that the PNW can’t still get pummeled from time to time. Trust me, the PNW did not get a lot of snow last season. In fact, they were much worse off than Utah. Some resorts up there barely even opened the entire season!

  2. El Pirata Gigantor Sporty-Pant

    Was up on Patsey Marley this morning and it looked like a solid 3″ of fresh blower dust-on-rocks…

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