Light snow showers in areas this Wednesday morning. A system will clip northern Utah tonight, bringing a period of accumulating snowfall to the northern mountains. Fresh snow is likely for Thursday morning. Another strong storm possible for early next week.
The Sunday night – Tuesday storm has finally wrapped up… for the most part. As expected, it was a long-duration system with many complicated components. The highest totals were seen around Brian Head in southern Utah where 40″ of snow fell! Wow! LCC was the winner for northern Utah (surprise!) with storm totals in the 28-32″ range. BCC was generally around 20″ storm total. Snowbasin and PowMow 13-16″. Sundance 11″. Top of PC ridge saw 8-12″.
Snow showers are still present in the region. As evidenced by this webcam at snowbasin:
Looks like 2″ of fluff to help soften up turns this morning! I am also seeing light dustings on the roads around PC with about an inch of snow on the PC snowstake cam.
Today is generally a break. But the good news is that we’ve got a bonus round coming for tonight as a system clips northern Utah. Additional snow happening so soon after a big storm is typical of Utah, but is something we haven’t much of in the last few years. Our bonus round storm will bring snow to areas from Cottonwoods/PC north to the Idaho border tonight. QPF for this storm is generally in the .25-.5″ range, which isn’t a huge amount. But when you combine that with cold air and high snow ratios, it should accumulate rather quickly. Based on that QPF, I’d guess snowfall totals will be in the 3-6″ range for Snowbasin, PowMow, and PC resorts with 4-8″ possible for the Cottonwoods by Thursday morning.
Here is the 12km NAM showing at least 6″ for the Upper Cottonwoods:
Thursday should definitely have some soft turns in the morning, although it might not be quite as deep as yesterday or Monday.
Storms generally pass to our north on Friday and Saturday, but there’s enough moisture in warm advection that we could see some high mountain snow at times. Temps will be significantly warmer.
On Sunday, we see a weak system pass through with generally light accumulations, however it will drag a cold front through that will help cool our temperatures a bit. Then on Monday and Tuesday. All major models show a very moist stream flow coming from the northwest with embedded waves of energy. It has the potential to produce a lot of mountain snowfall in the days leading up to Christmas. This isn’t as cold as our last storm, so lower valleys (below 5,000 feet) could see more rain than snow.
Here is a taste… this morning’s 06z GFS thru Christmas Day:
Widespread areas of 2-3″ of liquid, with many areas of 4+”
The ensemble suite is generally latching onto the idea as well for Monday/Tuesday:
Obviously, you can see that there are a lot of different outcomes that are possible. We are still 5+ days away so much of this is speculative. The screaming message, however, is that active weather is likely to continue and could be significant. We’ll be watching closely over the next few days.
Here is the current westwide snowpack map:
Southern Utah, not surprisingly, is doing well. Northern Utah is still running behind the median, but we made big gains as we were mostly in the 50-60% range before this storm.
Here is a look at Snowbird’s snotel station:
You can see we are running just behind last year. Last year had a very snowy holiday period that put totals at 131% of median on New Years Day. This year, we might see a similar jump if the pattern previously mentioned verifies. Let’s just hope this time we don’t then flatline like we did last year.
Here is Thaynes Canyon in Park City:
A similar story. Running just about even with last year.
I’m going to pull up a quote of mine from November 3rd. Many of you probably weren’t reading regularly then, but this is what it said:
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.
If you ask me, we are following that script exactly. November was cool and somewhat unsettled, but still well below average. Now, in December, we are really starting to see the tempo pick up with real winter storms moving into the area. Based on what I see in the long range, I think we have a good chance to be at or above average by New Years. Seasonal forecast models still suggesting elevated odds for above average precipitation for the Jan-Feb-Mar time frame. I think we are in good shape.