Saturday Storm

Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 7:45 am


High elevation snow will develop again late Friday and become heavier Friday night into Saturday morning.  Snow levels will drop down to valley floors.  The focus of the heavy snow will shift to our south by Sunday.  Cold air and a few snow showers will linger into next week before high pressure takes control.


Calm thru today into Friday morning before the next storm pushes in late Friday.  Moisture ahead of the front could create some high elevation snow showers as early as Friday afternoon.  The heavier snow will arrive with the front Friday night into Saturday morning.  Snow levels will fall from 6000-6500 feet down to valley floors by late Saturday morning.  Snow should start to taper off to showers late on Saturday.

As for snowfall amounts, that is very dependent on how quickly the front passes through the region.  Hopefully it moves more slowly as per the GFS.  The Euro solution is a bit faster and therefore the duration of heavy snow is shorter.  Currently, QPF looks to be between .75-2″ which is a rather large spread.  This is the current NAM 12km graphical forecast for snowfall in the Upper Cottonwoods:

Because this storm has higher initial snow levels, it could limit base elevation amounts a bit.  But for the upper portion of resorts, I think 8-14″ is a good bet by Sunday morning.  I think the Cottonwoods could see 12-18″.  If the front moves a bit more slowly than forecasted, I would not be surprised for the Cottonwoods to approach 2 feet, but that is a big “if” right now….

If you’re trying to choose between Saturday or Sunday as the better powder day, I would say Saturday is the much safer bet, as it will be snowing for most, if not all, of the day and should be free refills.  Assuming you don’t mind storm skiing/riding, and risking canyon traffic/closures, then Saturday is the way to go.  Sunday should be good as well, but snow should mostly stop by then so it will be a first chair kind of day.

As we mentioned yesterday, the second storm is likely heading well south of the Wasatch.  Southern Utah and Arizona should get additional snowfall on Monday with this system, but at this point it looks to do little for Northern Utah.   Because of this, the extreme amounts shown by the GFS a few days ago seem unlikely now.

GFS and Euro both have a third system pushing in middle of next week.  The GFS is a bit stronger with this storm, whereas the Euro is very weak.  At this point I’m not expecting much but it could be something to watch.  The operational GFS is currently an outlier to its own ensembles as it wants to push additional storms into the area through the long range.  The European and GEFS ensemble means, however, both suggest that a ridge is more likely.  Anything is possible beyond the 5-7 day window, so don’t let the phrases “high pressure” or “ridge” get ya down too much just yet.  We’ll just have to watch and wait how February unfolds.



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  • Jim

    Even though that second storm looks to be going south we saw a similar situation a few weeks ago and got a decent amount of snow from wrap around moisture as the low moves east. Could surprise no?

  • Chad Niel

    As someone who usually has to choose between saturday and sunday, can’t tell you how much I appreciate the hard work you do Evan!

  • Skotbot

    Great as always. Any thoughts on what kind of accumulation will occur for the more northern resorts? Say Snowbasin?

    • They are included in that 8-14″ up top category. Probably less for the base of the mountain.

  • Adam Schaffer

    Thanks so much for this–all very helpful. Can you weigh in on what time you think LCC might open up Saturday morning?

    • I can’t. Trying to predict road closures is damn near impossible. I will say that with the heavy snow on Saturday, it’s certainly a possibility that there could be closures at some point. Usually they are pretty good about having the road open during high traffic ski times.

      • Steve French

        I consulted my Tarot cards and I predict a 8:30am opening with an early afternoon closure for roughly 45 minutes.

    • Erock

      Everyone go to park city. LCC will close 😉

      • Steve French

        hmmm you must be using the limited edition Thoth Tarot card deck. Its mystical powers are strong.

  • Blake

    Off topic.. But do resorts/ski patrol take into account warming like we’ve this week when opening or keeping terrain open? For example solitude has left cathedral ish areas open while there east facing and have tons of warming taking place. Just curious how much to trust “inbounds”???

    • Andy Starr

      all the resorts are experts at avalanche softy… assessment
      but people have died inbounds so…look at .. similar areas and if.. it has slides .. stay clear

  • David

    Hi Evan…..I am noticing that there is a “winter storm watch” posted for BCC/LCC by the NOAA; however, when I click on Park City or Deer Valley there is no watch posted. Is Park City supposed to get hit by this storm? I know that Park City usually gets about 50%-60% of the BCC/LCC totals….but just surprised that there is no “winter storm watch” posted. any thoughts? love this site!!!!

    • Robert

      Weather channel app list Deer Valley under the watch. They are forecasting 9″-16″ through Saturday

    • The mountains of Park City/Deer Valley are in the watch. The town itself is not.

  • Neve

    Thinking of heading to Southern Utah based on new storm track. Your resort-specific forecast looks like you are predicting 0-1″ of snow at Brian Head on Monday. Is that current/correct? I was thinking we might be looking at something meaningful for Southern Utah.