Turning on the Hose

Monday, December 21, 2015 at 8:11 am

Monday 6pm Update:

We are just getting started with the fun this evening!  Snowfall has filled in nicely this afternoon ahead of the main jet.  3-6″ so far since this morning at most locations. Right now we are in a bit of a “break” as the advected precip wanes as the jet starts to move into the area.  I’d expect precip to increase again later this evening with heavy snow likely for the mountains overnight.  Here is the HRRR forecast until 7am tomorrow:


Heavy valley rain and mountain snow looks likely to continue.  I still think there will be a lull in precip tomorrow afternoon, but Tuesday night into Wednesday morning we look good to see additional snow.  This time of the lighter, fluffier variety.

Don’t forget about the winds tonight, they will be howling.  I expect a good chance for some road closures tomorrow and it may be a challenge to get the mountains open.  Please be patient and safe.






A very moist system will push into the region today with wet snowfall likely continuing heavily into Tuesday.  A break late in the day Tuesday before a cold front lowers snow levels and brings lighter, fluffier snow for Wednesday.  Another, weaker storm for Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.


A “hose” of moisture is approaching the region this morning.  You can see all the moisture associated with this system on this visible satellite image:


Notice the hose of moisture pushing toward the coast right now in a strong northwest flow.  That will nose over our region tonight into tomorrow.  Strong winds. Heavy mountain snow.  Valley rain.  Expect precipitation and winds to increase during the day today (Monday).

Our totals since early yesterday morning have already been somewhat decent.  Just for the sake of ease, I’m keeping track of everything between now and Wednesday evening as one storm, as each wave is associated with the same storm complex.  Here is where we stand so far (inches):


Brighton is leading the way, followed by Solitude and Sundace.  I was in LCC and they got about 5-6″ during the day yesterday plus several more inches over night — so 10″ seems about right.

Today thru tomorrow morning should be another 1-2 feet for most locations with more possible in the Cottonwoods.  This will be dense, heavy snow with high winds.  Snow levels will be high.  Please remember that these totals are for mid-mountain.  Good chance that the base of many resorts will see significantly less as they will be close to the rain/snow line.

There should be a break in the action Tuesday afternoon and evening after the jet sags south and weakens.  You can see the break in the forecasted NAM snowfall graph:



During the middle of the night into Wednesday morning, a trailing cold front will fire up snow once again.  This time it should be much lighter, fluffier snow with colder temps.  I’d expect another 4-8″ with 6-12″ possible in the Cottonwoods on top of what already fell.

That should bring our storm totals easily into the 1-3 feet range with a good possibility for 4 feet in a few locations if everything comes together for us.

Another storm is timing for Christmas Eve into early Christmas Day, but models generally still favor a southern track for this storm that will affect S. Utah more than the Wasatch.  I still expect at least some light additional accumulations for Christmas morning skiing.

A break this weekend, then perhaps another trough early next week.

It will be a crazy upcoming 48 hours of storm.  I will need help to keep track of everything. Please post reports in comments.  Tag photos on social media with #wasatchsnowforecast when possible. Thanks!





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28 thoughts on “Turning on the Hose

    1. Dafty Punk

      Right now we are about par, this storm could bump us up significantly. Then again almost exactly 1 year ago we had another large storm and then it ridged up and basically stopped snowing for the rest of the winter. Either way all considering the riding is pretty good at the moment.

    1. Chad Niel

      That’s where I’m at. I doubt anything opens Tuesday, hopefully by Wednesday they have something open, even if it’s not til the afternoon.

        1. Chad Niel

          It’s the wind that concerns me, I remember a day last year where the snow was heavy and the wind was strong and Snowbird didn’t open all day.

          1. Tom Bennett

            Chad, that’s a real possibility. I love Snowbird, but they are chronically understaffed and made worse by that fact that most of their staff has to get up-canyon like you (as opposed to Alta, where some segment of the staff stay on-site). So not enough staff to man the lifts, much less prep the mountain.

          2. Chad Niel

            I don’t disagree with you there, but Tonight is supposed to be the heavier and windier dump, so I imagine they spend most of the day Tuesday bombing and maybe even clearing debris.

  1. Tom Bennett

    Snowbird had anywhere from 5 to 10 this morning, depending on where you were. Definitely a bit higher density, and delayed openings due to slides.

    I would agree about the possibilities of closures and delays in little Cottonwood being very probable Tuesday and especially Wednesday.

      1. Tom Bennett

        It’s a got feel, but my guess is that avalanche control will want this heavier snow to sit and compress for as long as possible as that can stabilize the snowpack. So they may end up doing no blasting or clearing at all Tuesday, and waiting for Wednesday morning to do the lion share of that work.

  2. Kyle Cutler

    So if I am arriving into town DEC 28-Jan 2 it looks like clear skies and now new storms/snow? Please say it aint so doc?

    1. Michael

      Definitely not as active as the past week but a potential trough moving through during the 29-30th time frame. Models have been inconsistent, from what I’ve seen, but generally depict light accums. Give it a few days and see.

      1. Kyle Cutler

        Thanks for the response Michael! All other weather forecast are showing clear days from the 26th onward…I would be happy with light accumulation during my visit. Have fun with this storM!

  3. P Gee

    We skied Solitude until closing chair today…heavy snow from 12:00-closing…a bit of a thick snow/graupel mix for about an hour, then all snow the last 2.5 hours – snowing very hard (maybe 2-3″+/hour)…still dumping…

  4. Chelsea Vasquez

    Snowbird last couple Gad 2 chairs had crazy free refills…definitely way more than the 3″ they are reporting. Any thoughts on how much LCC actually got today?

  5. Tom Bennett

    Just heard LCC will close at 10pm tonight and Snowbird into lockdown at the same time. “Expected” open is 8:30am, but with these conditions that can easily be 10-11am. Might be a good day to check out BCC…Solitude will be off the charts.

    1. Chad Niel

      It’s tough to say because I have been watching the time lapse and wind has also blown a lot off of it.

  6. David Victor

    What’s up with the PC cam showing 1 inch? I had more than that in the 40 minutes waiting for McConkeys to open today. Knee deep in places up there by the way!

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