Southern Utah in the Crosshairs

Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 3:46 am

Sunday Afternoon:

Models have been continuing a trend of bringing snow farther north tonight into tomorrow.  We could end up seeing accumulating snow in the Wasatch, mainly south of I-80.  Monday could be a powder day.  Keep a close watching on radar and webcams and plan accordingly… WSF


Northern Utah saw the majority of the action yesterday, however, the focus now shifts to Southern Utah.  A significant storm will push into Southern Utah later today thru Monday with heavy accumulations likely.  In general, drier conditions are likely to develop later this week under a west coast ridge.


Here I am, sitting in a Starbucks in Florida at 5:30am EST.  Writing about weather in Utah…  Dedication.  (or maybe my wife’s word, “obsession”,  is more apt).   I don’t like to leave Utah during the winter, but usually I’m forced to do it once or twice per season.

Yesterday’s storm pushed through, bringing lots of liquid with it as expected.  Liquid totals were impressive.  Snow totals were decent, but not anything spectacular, especially on the lower halves of the mountains where precip started as rain or a rain/snow mix below 7,500 feet.  Full resort reports are not in yet, but looking at what was reported yesterday afternoon as well as snow sensor data, it looks like the Cottonwoods received around or just above a foot of dense snow.   The upper mountain at PC supposedly also had a foot or more according to their reports.  Seems like similar amounts, perhaps a bit more for areas north of SLC/PC.  Snowbasin’s snowcam suggested at least a foot since Friday night.

Here is a loop of the full storm pushing through yesterday:


The forecast for the upper mountains was 1-2 feet with 8-16″ for PC/DV.  It looks like almost everybody reached the range but in general we were on the low end of the range.  After almost every previous storm in January over-performed, I’m not going to complain too much.

Now, the focus is squarely on Southern Utah.  A really interesting scenario, weather-wise, is developing in which the frontal boundary that moved through Northern Utah yesterday is stalling along the Utah-Arizona border.  A rapidly intensifying low pressure system is going to follow this boundary eastward from Southern California.  This is going to bring very heavy precipitation to Southern Utah.  Check out the storm energy lighting up this boundary in this forecasted reflectivity image:


Heavy snow for Southern Utah. This snow will pick up late today and be heavy tonight into Monday.   1-2 feet likely with perhaps as high as 3 feet in some locations.  Brian Head powder pilgrimage?  Anyone….?

The big question for Northern Utah is how far the moisture from this system will push.  The Cottonwoods/PC are right on the northern periphery.  Here are the latest runs of various models to show you just how close a call it is as to whether they get in on the action:




So will the Cottonwoods/PC get some additional snow.  Perhaps…   I’d say based on the current outputs that we could get another 6-10″ if things go our way.  However, just as easily, the system could track a touch farther south and we could get totally skunked.  Hope for the best, but keep expectations low, that would be my advice.  Or drive down to Brian Head where powder is a sure thing…  Your call.

After this storm pushes east on Tuesday, it looks like ridging is going to develop along the west coast.  Models have this as a very high amplitude ridge, literally extending up to the north pole.  Models have been hinting at some weak energy undercutting and/or coming down the backside.  Could get a few showers later next week…. but major storms look unlikely.



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  • Cody Reutzel

    Tony Grove Lake SNOTEL is showing 15″ for a storm total!

    • ACJ

      a couple weeks ago SB had 5″ that skied like 12+. Yesterday’s “15” ” skied like 7″ (to me).

      • Chad Niel

        Which SB is that

  • Chan

    I would kill to have this southern utah storm up here in N. Utah right now..

  • Spank Tickleman

    I’m out of town 2-3 times a week so it’s easy to get “snow” sick(Homesick) but I’ve gotta fund the addiction somehow….

  • Radmd

    Where in Florida are you? I’m a regular follower of your report from Boca Raton. I’d be happy to buy you your next cup of coffee as a thank you for your fine work and excellent analysis!

  • Tom Bennett

    Snow is hardening up, even at the higher elevations. Even if the cottonwoods got a few inches, it might be dust on crust for the most part.

    • Chad Niel

      Where were you skiing? I got three great runs in Wilbere Bowl today. Seemed nice and soft to me.

  • NoSnowDownLow

    Has been snowing on and off since early evening, at 5100′ on Traverse Mountain. I presume the rest of the Wasatch is getting it too? Not much, but I presume the mountains are getting more?