Multiple Storms On The Way

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 7:34 am


Dry weather will come to an end late Wednesday night into Thursday as the first in a series of storms enters the region. Utah mountains will see frequent snowfall thru the weekend and likely into next week as an active pattern takes shape.


Forecast models have continued their trend of bringing an active pattern back to the region starting Thursday. I get a lot of comments to the effect of “models always seem to back off on storms.” People never seem to remember the times when the forecast looks bleak, then suddenly there are storms in the forecast. Well, this is one of those times. A few days ago, it looks like most energy would be splitting long before reaching us, now we have several storms lined up on our doorstep. So models do trend in both directions, soul-crushing disappointment just seems to be more memorable. This is also why I always say that beyond 5 days, anything is possible.

Storm #1:

This is a relatively weak storm that will “break down the door”. Not a ton of moisture or dynamics with it. Snow should begin after midnight on Thursday morning and continue off and on into Thursday afternoon. Amounts will generally be light in the 3-6″ range with 5-10″ possible for the Cottonwoods by Thursday evening.

Storm #2:

Right on the heels of the first system is a second one. This will push in Thursday night into Friday morning. GFS and EC both agree that this will be stronger than the first system. I would classify this as a moderate system. Generally, I define “moderate” as 6-18″ of snow in the Wasatch. I will look at exact numbers tomorrow. Friday should be a snowy day with great skiing again.

Storm #3:

A bit less confidence in this system but both the EC and GFS agree that the storm will push in snowfall later in the day on Saturday and continue Saturday night into Sunday. If trends hold, another moderate snowfall looks likely for Northern Utah mountains.

Storm #4:

Very little confidence in this one at all. Not even sure of it occurring. However, the GFS shows the biggest storm in the series for about Tuesday of next week. The EC shows this system as well, but it is a colder, much weaker system without any of the sub-tropical moisture shown in the GFS. We will just have to wait and see about this storm, but my guess right now is that we will, at the very least, remain active next week.

To wrap up, we’ve got at least 3-4 storms on the way in the next 10 days. None of them look huge at this point, but a small storm followed by two moderate storms is going to ski very nicely. I expect us to have a series of consecutive powder days over the MLK weekend.


P.S.  Apparently my database server has been having capacity issues thanks to too many refreshes of the site.  Working to increase capacity.  Sorry if you’ve had trouble accessing the site today.  I had images in this discussion originally but had to remove them due to this issue.

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  • Andrew Ballard

    Almost on Salt Lake time……

    • Steve French


  • Matt Murphy

    Can you provide the YTD totals compared to last year?

    Thanks for all you do!

    • Tomorrow hopefully, when my servers aren’t bogged down…

    • hongziyang

      Alta has about a foot more YTD this year than last year at this time.

  • NoSnowDownLow

    So, these storms… How low is the snow level? We looking at 3-6″ into the valley? Down to 5100ft Benches level? Or, just up above 7000ft for the mountains?
    Do I need to breakout the shovel again? I live at 5100ft on Traverse, so presume we may be getting a bit of white stuff to shift.

    • Should be snow, albeit mostly light amounts for Thursday-Friday… later this weekend and next week there’s a chance snow levels could rise off valley floors, especially if we get sub-tropical moisture. But I don’t anticipate any radically high snow levels.

      • NoSnowDownLow

        Thanks Evan. I shall shine up the snow shovel then!

      • altaskier

        Mmmmm… Subtropical moisture. Not blower but more base;)

  • Haha, ” soul-crushing disappointment just seems to be more memorable”.

    You’ve got that right! I do love the integrity of your reporting regardless of how much your audience has lamented its lot in the last three years.

  • Bishop Wright

    How is the coverage at Snowbird these days? Rocks still present, or all gone by this time? Last year there were still rocks, and I would rather not scratch up a new board…

    • Erock

      I brought out my new board after Christmas. Good to go except on some traverses like cirque…

    • Dragonclawhammer

      I’m still finding quite a few rocks and stumps in the steeper off-piste terrain, such as off the high baldy traverse (the steeper stuff had to avalanche after the big x-mas storm and thus is still thin in areas). Groomers are well covered. A few more feet should do it (so if this forecast verifies). Don’t miss out to keep your board base pretty.

    • Chad Niel

      Its only ptex bruh, the turns have been more than worth it.

    • NeverSummer

      its a tool not a jewel! that being said there are some exposed rocks off even some cat tracks, on baldy in a few chutes and some other places I am not at liberty to say where….

      • Bishop Wright

        Trust me, if you saw the board I just retired, you would know I follow this philosophy to the key! But, as with any new toy, one can always try to keep it as pristine as possible

  • Chad Niel

    No reason ever to complain about 6 inches of fresh!

  • Steve French

    Maybe we need to get you more donations this year to really upgrade the servers! Thanks for the update, stoked!

  • The Nockle

    Whatever do you mean? I was not hitting reload every 30 seconds before work waiting for the daily update. NOT AT ALL.

  • Shad Pulley

    And I had to fall and bruise my tailbone on Sunday.. 🙁 Hopefully will be better by Sunday.

  • Brad Knoles

    “Soul-crushing disappointment seems more memorable.” Love it.

  • backbonz

    Ill be in PC Thu-Sat.
    Easy question. Only want to bring one pair of skis.
    Do i pack the Bonafides or Bibbys?

    • Steve French

      Bibbys unless you are going to stick to groomers, which I suspect you wont be since you are asking a question on this page. Personal preference though. Bonafides will be good not great.

      • backbonz

        hah, thanks for the positive reinforcement…Moments it is.
        jong out

  • Justin Wehner

    Nobody comes here anymore, it’s too crowded.

  • Marc Guido

    Was up at the Basin today and it skied very, very well.

  • Geoff Larson

    WSF kicks ass! I pretty much get my weather for the winter here now!