Breezy conditions today into Wednesday before the snow arrives in Northern Utah on Wednesday afternoon. Snow and cold temperatures will continue into Thursday with the possibility for snow showers to linger in the mountains all weekend.
Winds are already kicking up outside my house as I type this. These winds should only increase in strength today ahead of the trough for tomorrow into Turkey Day. On Wednesday, expect a breezy morning with snow developing in the afternoon. If the snow moves in early, there could be an inch or two before last chair, but that’s all. Probably best to wait until Thursday morning.
Snow will continue Wednesday night across much of Northern Utah as the cold front passes through. The cold front itself is not overly impressive and the setup behind the front isn’t ideal for orographics either for most of the Wasatch. I think this will limit totals. The slow movement of the system and high snow ratios, however, could boost totals. Right now, my best guess is:
- Northern Wasatch (Beaver, Snowbasin, PowMow): 4-8″
- Cottonwoods: 8-12″
- PC / Sundance: 3-8″
- Southern Utah (Brian Head): 1-3″
These totals are through late on Thanksgiving Day. Temps will be cold so snow is possible in the valleys but amounts should be light. For your visual pleasure, here is a map showing where the best snow is likely to fall:
The low pressure system hangs around the Great Basin region through the weekend and even re-develops itself farther west before moving east again. This should keep the area very cold through the weekend with great snowmaking conditions! We will also likely see off and on snow showers through the weekend that could add to our totals. Right now it’s almost impossible to pin down when these snow showers will take place but the skiing this weekend should be quite good!
Long Range / El Niño:
For once, long range and El Nino can actually be used together as we have a very El Nino-like pattern potentially developing as we head into December. I will get to that in a second.
First, November is coming to a close this week. Usually my over/under for a good November is 60″ of snowfall for the Cottonwoods. I think after this storm we will be around 50″. So not quite to the level we typically receive. However, considering that we had the warmest October on record and I had been fearful of that continuing into November, I am not too disappointed. We stayed consistently cool to allow for some good snowmaking and the storm per week pattern was enough to get the resorts open on time.
El Niño, meanwhile, has continued to strengthen. Last week the 3.4 region set a new weekly temperature anomaly record. This week, it increased its record further. “Hell Niño” has arrived. 😉
I’ve been saying since September that we’d likely have to wait until some time in December for El Niño to show itself in terms of affecting our Wx patterns. Right on cue, it looks like a niño-influenced pattern is shaping up for the first week of December. For the last few days, models have been hinting at a huge trough off the West coast with a massive ridge over the center of North America, extending way up into the Arctic of Canada. This is very much a classic El Niño pattern. Really, it’s a pattern we haven’t seen much of at all over the last few years. Check it out, current ensemble height mean for December 3:
You can see the ridge extending up the midwest all the way to the Hudson Bay of Canada. The deep trough off the west coast. I added some red arrows to indicate the southern branch of the jet stream’s approximate location in this pattern, taking aim at Northern California. The blue arrows are indicative of the sub-tropical moisture this is able to pick up. Classic El Nino.
Of course, as always, this favors the west coast and the systems will have a bit more trouble making it to Utah as the trough remains parked off the west coast with the mega ridge to our east. Right now, models do show potential for some decent storms first week of December all the way to the Wasatch. We’ll keep an eye on that for you in the coming days!
For those of you fearing “the blob” — it seems to be having no influence on weather patterns whatsoever and is continuing to weaken.