Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 6:40 am

Thursday PM update:

I’m liking what I’m seeing so far on radar in regards to a band of snow setting up over the region this evening into tonight.  Spoke this morning that localized areas could get much higher totals if these wrap around bands were placed correctly.  Right now it looks like there’s a chance for just such a band to park itself over PC/Cottonwoods….  Keep an eye on radar and webcams for potential sleeper powder day tomorrow…?



Another refresh of snow with 3-6+ inches overnight at most Utah resorts.  Sundance reporting a foot of new snow!  More snow showers tonight into Friday before a gradual clearing and drying trend as we head toward next week.


A moist southerly flow last night brought another wave of snow through the region during the evening and overnight hours.  Sundance was the big winner.  They often do well in southerly flows and this was no exception — reporting a foot of snow!  Snowbasin, another favored mountain in a south/southwesterly flow received 7″ of fresh.  Check out the snowbasin snow stake overnight to verify:


Cottonwoods and Park City resorts are reporting between 3 and 5 inches of new snow.  Snowbird reporting 5″:


For the most part, today is a break with mostly cloudy skies.  Right now, HRRR guidance has the next wave spinning up into the region tonight, bringing moisture with it.  We could see wrap around snowfall bands develop this evening in an easterly flow.  There’s a chance these bands could set up over one localized area and bring higher snowfall totals, but in general I think another refresh of 1-3″ is likely.  We’ll just have to watch and see if and where snowfall bands set up tonight.  Snow showers continue into Friday morning before diminishing.

A system will push into California this weekend and move east but should split and weaken as it does so.  By the time it reaches Utah, I’m guessing it will mostly be clouds.  However, can’t rule out a few snow showers later in the weekend.

Next week looks mostly dry at this time.  As we’ve talked about the last few days, the trough is going to be parked off the west coast next week, which means ejecting energy will encounter high pressure and weaken considerably before ever making it to Utah.  We could get very light scraps from time to time, but anything significant looks to hold off.  You can see this trough very well on this CFS qpf output map for next week (Jan 12-17):


Lots of storm energy off the Pacific coast.  Literally, the exact opposite of the ridge from last year that blocked all storms.  This time, however, the storms are there, but having a difficult time progressing inland.  I suppose the good news is that the CFS has the trough eventually pushing east and opening up a bit later in the month.  As of right now, that isn’t really being picked up in 10-day operational runs of models quite yet.   So we are left waiting and hoping.

One thing’s for sure, El Nino has the Pacific absolutely jacked right now.  If only we could get this pattern to evolve we could be in for a very snowy period during late January and February.  But of course, right now that’s a big “if”….

Stay tuned….


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  • Jim

    Where does the MJO fit in to this. We appear to be heading into phase 8.

    • MJO is probably a huge factor right now in why El Nino is sputtering to a start rather than roaring to life. Usually MJO is supressed in Nino years, but not this year. I think this is partially preventing us from getting in on the action. I think if we can get to 1,2,3,4 phases, we’ll stand a much better chance a progressing that trough inland. But I’m just guessing, don’t have much experience with MJO and Nino both this strong.

      • Jim

        Based on the MJO forecast we will be in phase 8 for at least 15 days although the signal may weaken briefly during that time…then I presume it will move on into phase 1 at some point…may explain why the operational models don’t have much storm action next 10-15 days.

  • Andrew Ballard

    So it looks like no snow for my wed-fri trip next week. So another question, how will riding be when it hasn’t snowed in five days? Still soft in the trees, or will it be crunchy? Thanks.

    • I wouldn’t totally give up just yet as a lot can change quickly this time of year. Conditions will be dependent on how strong our freeze/thaw cycle will be. My guess is that it will be crunchy in the morning and soften up in the afternoons, assuming we are in a relatively warm pattern late next week . Stay tuned.

  • Kevin Black

    Shocked at how great the snow was yesterday! free refills on those soft turns and no lines at the lifts – awesome day

  • Peter

    what time of year exact month will elnino finish this year

    • El Nino’s generally gradually weaken through the Spring and we will likely b in a neutral ENSO state by mid-Summer

  • NoSnowDownLow

    Live at 5100ft on Traverse Mountain (Utah County side)… It has dropped 3″ here so far and still lightly snowing. Looks like the shovel will be out again in the morning!