Weekend Storm

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 7:56 am


After a couple more days of quiet weather, a storm will approach on Friday with a strong cold front pushing in on Friday night into Saturday.  Snow is likely for all Utah mountains this weekend.  Another system could bring snow to mostly Southern Utah on Monday into Tuesday.


High pressure is still in control, but that will change quickly this weekend.  Storm starts to drop into the area on Friday, could see high mountain snow start has early as Friday afternoon ahead of the front.  Initially snow levels will be relatively high, 6k feet or perhaps a touch higher.  The cold front will push in Friday night and bring heavy precip to the region and cause snow levels to crash down below 5,000 feet behind the front on Saturday, likely reaching valley floors eventually.  This storm has a lot of moisture with it.  GFS paints 2-3″ of max liquid while the Euro is in the 1-2″ range.  I think 2″ for the max is a good middle ground with 1-2″ for most other areas.  That means that by the time this front has sagged south and east of us on Sunday morning.  The upper elevations will be looking at 1-2 feet of new snow.

Yesterday we talked about the Euro and GFS being in disagreement about the following system.  The GFS showed a strong storm aiming directly at Utah on Monday with the Euro much weaker and farther south.  They seem to be finding a middle ground with a strong system directed at Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.  The GFS is still farther north and would bring at least some additional snowfall to Northern Utah as well.  The Euro pretty much keeps us pretty much dry with most snow in Arizona or far southern Utah.  This new compromise means that back-to-back big snows in the Wasatch are unlikely now.  As I said yesterday, I didn’t think the GFS solution would hold so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Here is the new GFS QPF output which can be compared to yesterday’s:


Today’s version shows more total precip for Southern Utah but less for Northern Utah.

After a cold, snow showery start to next week, we should see high pressure regain control by Wednesday, Feb 3 or so.  Right now, this looks to be strong, stable high pressure with a deep trough in the eastern half of the U.S.  Would not be surprised if the first half of February was our mid-winter thaw.  I’ve spent so much time skiing powder over the past 6 weeks that I’ve gotten behind on domestic duties.  Perhaps a break in the action for a bit isn’t such a bad thing… I can’t say that with a straight face… Breaks in the action are always terrible…. Let’s just hope more snow returns sooner rather than later.

TL;DR  Good storm coming this weekend, powder likely Saturday and Sunday.  Get some!


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23 thoughts on “Weekend Storm

  1. Jim

    Any insight into the second half of February? The only model that I know that goes out that far is the Euro monthly control. It shows a mostly dry period from middle of next week out to the 20th before a return to storms the week of the 21st.With the kind of winter we have had so far it is hard to believe we could go over 2 weeks without any significant snow.

      1. Jim

        Not to mention I don’t think the Euro has been its’ usual stellar self this winter. The GFS has been quicker to pick up on storms even when it look like a pipe dream. This latest series of storms is a good example.

    1. Robert

      I’m hoping for the best. I get there Feb 6th and leave the 14th. Do the models show anything remotely possible during that span? Either way, it should be better than last year at this time. I was there last Feb and everything was brown except the resorts. Kinda bummed a bit though, it was exciting looking at the 6-8 and 8-14 maps each week and seeing all the green. Yesterday’s 8-14 shows SLC smacked between the dreadful brown and gorgeous green, which I guess leaves us in the normal range…..

        1. Robert

          Thx for the reply! Guess I will hope for the best and take a wait and see approach. BTW, thanks for all you do, I read the post daily and you do an awesome job!

  2. David Kenny

    I’m due to fly in February 13th and lately I’ve been quite jealous of your season. But the news of drying up for a good part of Feb has depressed me considerably say it it isn’t so. What are the the long range models saying about the 3rd week of February? Do I have a shot at sharing this good season or am I going to get the short end of the stick?

      1. Steve French

        David are you serious? You must have bought $10,000 worth of PowerBall tickets. Hey! You never know!

    1. Jim

      Good point. The models did not look very good for a few days. Still think the models are having a hard time with this very strong el nino pattern. There is very little analog data available for such an extreme event.

  3. chris

    Evan, thanks for a great forecast as usual. Do you foresee any break in snowfall after Friday afternoon? I was planning to drive to Vail on Sunday morning from SLC but I’m thinking the drive might be risky with so much snow. I am hoping I can maybe drive through a break in the storm but if no such break exisits I may leave Friday morning instead.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      I think the storm will have mostly tapered off by Sunday. Saturday is the poor travel day. However, it could still be stormy in Colorado on Sunday, you’ll have to check forecasts there for details.

  4. Jim

    Just wondering if anyone knows why the thunder bowl area at snowbird isn’t open yet? Avy control, lack of snow (hard to believe), mid week closure?

  5. Jay

    Lets hope the drying out for the second week of February is wrong, travelling half way across the planet would hate to get the one bad week! Any thoughts on how long the high will stick around for?

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      That is being pulled up dramatically by a few crazy Canadian ensembles. I would expect that weekend totals will be 1-2″ of liquid with 2+ possible in the Cottonwoods. Still a good storm.

      1. Jim

        Ya i noticed it was mostly cmc ensembles skewing up the average. We Canadians are always very optimistic…sorry.

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