Northern Utah will continue to be clipped by energy that is passing to our north. Clouds and occasional light snow showers are possible in the mountains. The storm track finally drops into the region late this week with significant snowfall possible.
Yesterday, I added another year of life to my resume. My wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday, as she does every year. Completely serious, I said to her, “I just want snow. Lots of snow.” She shook her head and made me a delicious cheesecake instead. However, I’m starting to think she might actually have some sway in the snowfall dept as well…. Models are looking mighty delicious this morning (even more so than the cheesecake). So if this pattern I’m about to discuss works out, I think credit goes to my wife.
The upcoming 5 days is going to be pretty uneventful as the storm track continues to hit areas far to our north. We’ll be clipped by weak energy in Northern Utah with clouds, a few mountain snow showers at times, and perhaps some breezy weather as well. The good news is that it should keep the valleys from getting too inverted.
Things start to change on Thursday as a strong trough sags into the region as the pattern becomes less zonal and more amplified. Thursday is December 10th. If you remember, that is that date I earmarked last week as when it looked like the pattern would change. Score one for the long-range ensembles!
Right now it looks like the best snow will start later in the day on Thursday and continue through much of Friday. Plenty of decent moisture and cold air for substantial snowfall to be possible. Friday and Saturday could both be good powder days!
The other piece of good news is that for once, this does not look to be a “one-and-done” storm with perhaps more significant snowfall possible early next week as another system drops into the western CONUS trough.
As for 10-day total snow, first lets look at the Canadian GEM:
You can see the “pinks” up the spine of Utah indicating good snowfall accumulations. The GEM is low resolution and therefore does not resolve the terrain of the Wasatch (which is a steep and narrow mountain range) well. I’d expect totals to be higher than the legend indicates.
Next, here’s the 10-day GFS:
Very impressive totals from the GFS, even for lower elevations.
I’m not able to post the ECMWF (Euro) model due to their sharing policies, but I can tell you that it is somewhere in between the GEM and GFS for total snowfall.
So all models agree on at least decent snowfall for the region with most models suggesting significant snowfall is a definite possibility. For more on this potential, see the below GEFS ensemble forecast for snowfall:
You can see that most ensembles show snow starting late on Thursday with rather significant accumulation by late Friday.
Of course, it’s important to remember that we are still 5+ days away from the start of this event. Yes, it does have potential, and I am communicating what is currently being projected, but as always, this is subject to change. As mentioned earlier, this is a more amplified pattern which means that if it amplifies too much, the storms could drop to our west and then south a la the November systems. After the luck we’ve had so far this year (and last year), I’m keeping my emotions in check at this point.
Still, this isn’t just a one-and-done and models indicate more chances for snow could continue through the long-range. I think even in a worst case scenario, we still get a healthy dose of winter in Utah.
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