Monday PM update:
Wow! This morning I commented that if the snowfall managed to stay consistent through the day, totals could be higher than expected… boy were they ever! Not sure how much snow fell exactly but I would not be surprised if Solitude (where I was today) got a foot during the day. It snowed very hard for several hours with free refills. I skied from first chair to last chair and it just got better with each run!
A few more inches are possible this evening before we clear out for the night and into tomorrow. Plenty of fresh left over for your pleasure in the AM…
Another piece of good news, next storm is looking better for Tuesday night into Wednesday. Right now I would guess 6-12″ with more possible in favored locations like the Cottonwoods. Saturday storm still looking likely as well. Details in the morning… WSF
Snow is likely today in the Northern Utah mountains, with the heaviest snow falling this afternoon into this evening. Accumulations will generally be modest. A break on Tuesday before the next system pushes in for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. This system is again fast-moving and will bring modest accumulations to the region. Another storm possible for next weekend.
Moisture is being drawn into the region this morning, yielding light snow in the upper elevations already. You can see this long plume of moisture feeding the snow/rain all the way from the Wasatch, thru Nevada, across the Sierras and into the Sacramento Valley:
This Pacific moisture will continue to bring snow (valley rain) to the region today. The heaviest snow, however, will fall in the afternoon and evening after the front push through and we have a period of orographically enhanced snowfall. Right now, I’d say 3-6″ is the best bet for areas above 7,000 feet with perhaps a bit more in favored locations. Of course, if we can really get some consistent snowfall going all day today, those amounts could be higher.
Skiing should start good today and get better throughout the day. Early chairs on Tuesday will also be very good, especially if a large portion accumulates after the lifts stop spinning today. Overall, Tuesday is a break day in the wx before the next system rolls in on Tuesday night. This next system is again rather fast-moving and unimpressive. Still, I’d expect an additional 4-8″ out of it for most mountain locations, enough to make for some really good powder on Wednesday.
It looks like another break for Thursday and Friday, as the attention in the Wx-world will be on a potentially major snowstorm for the mid-Atlantic. Then, models agree on Utah’s next system pushing in on Saturday. Still not much agreement on details. At this point it does not look to be a major storm, but another welcome refresh.
Beyond next weekend, it still looks like we will undergo a major transition in the pattern. Since the first week of January, we’ve been in a pattern with a trough off the west coast and ridging generally in the west-central United States. We’ve been lucky enough that the trough has been consistently throwing energy in to the region, but this energy is loosely organized and weakens as it encounters high pressure. It looks like between Jan 25-28, ridging will temporarily develop over the region as heights build out in the central Pacific. This will push a deep and formidable looking trough into the interior west. Way too far out for any details, but generally this would mean a better chance for stronger storms and cold weather.
You can see this transition occur in this ensemble loop (note the date up top):
You can see that for the next week or so we alternate between weak troughing and ridging as these three storms push through. Then there’s a bit of ridging before a deep trough settles over the west. I bring this up, only because 1) It has been remarkably consistent in both EC/GFS in the past few days and 2) I’m getting a lot of comments about wanting “big” storms to return. Please note that this does not guarantee big storms are coming, but it may help improve the odds toward the end of the month.
Current Utah snowpack numbers:
The numbers improve as you head south. Even our worst numbers are only 11% below median. Most of the Wasatch is just below median. With all of central and southern Utah above the median. Not a bad place to be.
Ben Lomond Peak (near Powder Mountain/Snowbasin):
It is at 89% of average, but is almost equal to the early March peak it saw last year. Which is mostly a reflection on how poor last season was. I can tell you from personal experience this weekend that Powder Mountain is skiing much better than it did at any point last year.
Here’s Brighton’s numbers (between Snowbird and Park City):
92% of the median, but this shows how closely we are paralleling last season so far — almost identical numbers and even the same general trends so far this season. Luckily, it’s not going to take much for us to leave last season’s numbers in the rearview mirror, I’d expect us to be well above last season by the time Feb 1 rolls around.
Overall, I’d say snowpack numbers are good, not great. With the snow this week, we should continue to close in on the median numbers up north. Hopefully if the stronger storm cycle comes to fruition at the end of the month, we can jump well ahead of average.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy the fresh snow today, tomorrow, Wednesday…