Weakening and splitting system will bring snow showers to the mountains of Utah Tuesday and Wednesday. A break later this week into the weekend. Next storm arrives early next week.
As mentioned each of the last three days, the storm that was looking significant late last week has really fallen apart. It brought good snow to the Sierra Nevada yesterday and is currently bringing snow to northeast Nevada, including the Ruby Mountains, all the way up to the Rockies of Montana. Here is a map of additional snowfall forecasted over the next 48 hours:
It’s almost funny to see how close we were to getting good snowfall with heavy snow accumulations surrounding us seemingly on all sides. The good news is that it’s currently snowing in the high Wasatch:
Snow showers today in a southerly flow will turn colder this afternoon as a cold front moves through. Snow showers will then continue tonight into Wednesday. Total accumulations will generally remain in the 2-4″ range above 7,000′, but it’s not out of the question that we could get amounts of 6″ or more in a few favored locations.
So yes, this storm isn’t going quite as planned. The upside to this is that it’s only November 3rd. Better to get skunked now than mid-winter. Also, the cold temperatures behind the front will allow for snow-making over the next few days.
The other good news is that we’ve already got another good chance for snow in the forecast. Late this week, we will gradually clear out and warm up by this weekend. Early next week, all models agree on another cold trough diving down into the Great Basin. Too early to get into any details — but it’s nice to see no signs of the persistent ridging that plagued us last year.
El Nino is now at near record strength (+2.7C in region 3.4). Indications are that it could continue to strengthen just a touch before peaking either late this month or early December. I’ve said all along that Utah doesn’t have much correlation between El Nino and seasonal snowfall amounts. I do believe that a strong El Nino increases our chances of above average snowfall just a touch, but still, ANYTHING can happen this winter.
Since mid-September we’ve been warning that October and November could be warmer and drier than normal. October was the warmest in SLC history and exceptionally dry. November is looking a bit more promising right now, but don’t be surprised if we are below average for snowfall yet again. In December, hopefully we’ll start to see El Nino’s effects start to really take shape as more winter-like patterns develop. If we can get to January 1 somewhere near normal snowpack, I’d consider that a huge victory. After that, our odds of above average snowfall increase as we head into the first few months of 2016. Here’s the Jan-Feb-March precip anomalies:
Predictably, California gets hammered. The hope is that some of that bleeds over to eastern side of the Great Basin. March-April-May is wetter for the interior west:
The hope is that we can get through November and December somewhere near normal, if we can do that, then I like our odds of seeing a snowy late Winter and Spring. Of course, seasonal forecasting is far from an exact science, so it might be advisable to just hope for the best and not worry about any of this.