Putting together the Pieces

Monday, December 7, 2015 at 6:53 am


Cloudy and breezy at times as Utah continues to be clipped by systems to our north.  Jet stream starts to sag south and bring troughing and storms to the area starting on Thursday.  Powder for Friday and a good chance for subsequent systems to continue into next week.


Quite an interesting forecast.  We’ll continue to have moisture clip the region.  A wave tonight could bring mountain snow showers to far northern Utah, but more wind and clouds than anything. Appreciable accumulations should hold off until later on Thursday when stronger systems drop into the region.

System #1:   Thursday night into Friday

Models are fairly consistent in how they handle this first system.  A strong, organized cold front will pass through on Thursday evening/night with snow developing and quickly filling in from north to south.  Temperatures will drop dramatically for Friday with snow levels likely down to valley floors, although most of the precipitation may have already passed.  Orographic showers behind the front are likely for areas favored in a northwest flow on Friday.  Snow amounts look to be modest for most areas with .4-.8″ of liquid in the mountains.  Cottonwoods could get an inch or more (of liquid) if the northwest flow delivers.  In general, we’ll call this 5-10″ of snow with up to a foot in favored areas.  This is subject to change as we get closer to the storm… but it’s a rough idea for now.  Friday should be a good powder day.

System #2:  Saturday night – Monday

Not nearly as good of agreement on this system.  Right now, it looks to arrive anywhere from Saturday evening all the way to late Sunday, depending on the model. The strength is also a contentious point.  Some runs have it only as a weak follow-up system, whereas others have it as quite potent with significant accumulations.  At this point, I’m not going to make any guesses other than to say that it looks like we’ll get at least some additional snowfall during the Saturday-Monday time frame.

Here is the 00z GEFS model QPF output for the Upper Cottonwoods for the first and second systems:



You can see that for most ensembles, there’s the initial jump in precipitation on Thursday night, then a break through Saturday before another general upward trend, but unfortunately, there’s still a wide range of possibilities for this second system so confidence is very low.

System #3: Middle of next week (December 16-17) 

No details on this one whatsoever, but all major models do show a third system moving into the area and affecting the region in some capacity.  No point worrying about this just yet.


In summary, things are definitely getting more active!  We are starting to gain a bit of confidence regarding the system later this week.  As for the other systems, let’s just hope for the best.  The main point is that we have a parade of storm energy that looks to affect the area.  For once, we aren’t just seeing a one-and-done storm.  Keep up your snow dances, get your powder skis/boards ready, and hope things work out for us.  We need this!


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  • PortMay

    What websites you get your information

    • WildWasatch


      That’s where I get my info.
      To be honest, if you are asking that question, you’d have no idea on how to read the info. I know I don’t.

    • I have over 100 sites that I use to look at data. I have many good ones linked on the “Resources” page

  • Steve Noufer

    I know it’s only one run, and I should not get excited about anything out past 5-6 days, but the GFS 06Z model run looks very nice for the next 16 days. Would love if it verified. But yes, it’s not a good idea to fall in love with a single run.

  • Name

    Is the blob back? Read somewhere they thought it was coming back.

  • Steve Noufer

    The latest NWS discussion said there was major disagreement between GFS and EC/Can on what happens from Saturday on. Sounded like they were siding with EC, but it wasn’t quite clear how much difference there was in snowfall amounts between the two or whether there was room for compromise between the two. Curious as to your thoughts on this. Thanks.

    • I always side with the EC… GEFS trends have generally been in the direction of the EC today. I think we’ll get some good snow, but I doubt it will be anywhere close to the ungodly amounts the GFS was trying to forecast.

  • Pieder Beeli

    What does the z in “00z” mean?

    • Zulu time… a military term to denote UTC times. Models are based off UTC times.

      • Pieder Beeli

        Do you get the data of this graph, or merely the graphic? Perhaps it is a good mental exercise to think about what this means in MST, but when I’m thinking of powder, there is less blood in my brain.