Monday, January 4, 2016 at 7:26 am


An active pattern will bring chances for snow this week to the mountains of Utah.  The farther south you go, the more likely you are to see heavier accumulations.  California and Arizona will get pummeled in a very El Nino-like pattern.


Inversions in full effect again today.  Check out the current temperatures (6:45am):


You can see how much colder it is in valleys and basins than on the mountains.  Generally 10-15 degrees colder.  Pollution is also trapped in many valleys so take measures to protect air quality if possible.

Heavy rain and snow will fall in SoCal and Arizona this week as 3 separate systems move through the region.  Each one of these systems will move east and favor Southern Utah compared to the Wasatch.  Northern Utah will have to content itself with the scraps of moisture that make it this far north.

Right now, it looks like the first wave will push through today into tonight.  This will mean steady snowfall for Southern Utah resorts (Brian Head).  For Northern Utah, it means a chance for just some light snow tonight with accumulations likely staying below two inches.

The second storm will be stronger.  Heavy snow possible again in Southern Utah Tuesday night thru Thursday.  Northern Utah will see most snow on Wednesday as a branch of the system ejects northeast.

A final system for late Thursday into Friday will also favor the southern half of the state.

Total accumulations down near Brian Head could be fairly significant with up to two feet possible from now until Saturday.  Northern Utah accumulations will be much lighter.  In general I think most snow will fall on Wednesday with 3-6″.  5-10″ is possible for the Cottonwoods.  Here is what the NAM is showing for accumulations in the Upper Cottonwoods over the next few days:

The GFS has abandoned the idea of a significant storm for next weekend.  Not surprised as I don’t trust the GFS generally until it has the support of the ECMWF (Euro).  I know some of you have been watching mouth-watering runs of the GFS and dreaming of deep powder, but it looks like that is unlikely to come to fruition.  To my eyes, it looks like the most likely scenario is a gradual transition to a stormier pattern.  A deep trough is going to build off the Pacific coast and slowly nudge its way eastward.  This may mean that storms have a difficult time progressing inland.  I think we may have to wait until after mid-month before we get the active pattern we really want.  Until then, we’ll just have to make the most of the scraps thrown our direction.


P.S.  Due to the cold air trapped in the valleys, there is a possibility for freezing rain this week in some lower valleys.  If it’s falling as rain, but the temperature on the surface is below freezing, there’s a good chance roads are icing over. If this occurs, be very careful.  Many of us still remember the chaos of the freezing rain event we had in January 2013.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .
  • Chad Niel

    If it breaks the inversion, I will count my blessings.

    My 6 year old had a tooth fall out on the wilbere lift yesterday. We buried it in the snow off lower emma as an offering to the snow gods.

  • Jim

    i’m one of those that has been looking at the GFS the past couple of days with much excitement. SOOO disappointed to see the 0z and 6z runs back off previous solutions.I know not to get too excited about one or two good runs but the runs were pretty consistent the past few days.

  • Timothy Berggren

    How do you thinks the La Sals and Abajos will do?

    • Not the best setup for eastern Utah. They’ll get some snow, but it looks like it won’t be anything major.

      • Timothy Berggren

        Abajos might get hit more it looks like? Thanks for all you do, by the way. I’m an avid backcountry skier and I check for your updates every morning from my phone in bed. Priorities…

        • yeah, a bit farther south could help them vs La Sals, but I’m not intimately familiar with Abajo topography to know how they do in this type of pattern.

  • Jim

    Should we be encouraged by today’s CPC precipitation probability forecast 6-10 and 8-14 days?

    • I’m generally not a fan of those because I like to make judgments based on model trends myself. I think those have a tendency to lag latest trends a bit too. However, I will say this, while the 18z GFS didn’t look so good. The GEFS ensemble mean showed much more undercutting of energy next week. I think the operational might be too dry. We’ll see what the 00z does…. wouldn’t be surprised if it trended wetter again.

      • Jim

        Let’s hope!