LCC Magic

Friday, February 5, 2016 at 7:05 am


Light snow fell through much of the Wasatch yesterday and last night. Little Cottonwood Canyon was the exception, as the northwest flow delivered last night with 13″ of fresh snow reported at Alta and Snowbird.  A few lingering snow showers possible, then high pressure takes control for an extended period.


Yesterday we had the following quote in the forecast:

Accumulations will be light with a trace to 3″.  Perhaps an outside chance that the Cottonwoods could work their magic and pick up a bit more….  but don’t get your hopes up.

I thought perhaps, with a cold northwest flow, LCC could get 6″ if we were lucky.  She ended up with 13″ of fresh!  Another lesson that you can never bet against that canyon.  LCC working her magic!

Brighton, just east of Alta is reporting 5″.  Beaver Mountain also reporting 5″.  All other mountains reporting 3″ or less which is what was expected.

High pressure will start to build in this weekend.  A system passing to our north will bring some clouds and keep things “dirty” at first.  By Monday, high pressure starts to become dominant.  By Tuesday, it looks like this over the West:


No storms getting through that thing.  By mid-month, there does seem to be a pattern shift.  But at this point it’s too early to know what kind of shift this will be.  It’s possible that ridging could just re-establish itself.

El Nino is still out there, but it’s effects on the jet stream have been less pronounced than in other strong El Nino years.  I’m wondering if all the warm water that existed off the Mexico coast this summer is causing the baja high to be a bit stronger than normal, which is keeping the STJ (sub-tropical jet) from reaching full strength.   This is pure speculation, and I don’t have anything other than instinct to back this up, but perhaps the “Baja Blob” is the new enemy.  I’d be interested to see what research is done on this topic.

By the way, Baja Blob is just what I’m calling it, I have no idea if it has an actual name.  You can see this warm water in the below animation.  You can see that it exists this year, but did not exist in 1997 (our last super El Nino).


Enjoy the sleeper pow day in LCC!


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18 thoughts on “LCC Magic

      1. Matt

        I feel your pain. We are leaving early tomorrow morning for a 12 hour drive
        and will be in BCC/LCC through Wednesday. Then up to Wyoming until next
        Sunday or Monday, then a 12 hour drive back home. Could we have picked a worse week for snow? I’m only
        doing last minute ski trips from this point forward.

  1. Mike Smith

    Wish I was able to ski LCC today. No better place on the planet on a powder day. “Baja Blob” has a nice ring to it.

  2. Jim

    Yesterday you were saying the long range ensembles suggested a return to an active pattern after mid month. How do they look this morning, I gather not so good anymore? The GFS operational has little to offer as far out as Feb. 21st and has been getting progressively worse with each run. Even the Euro ensemble control run has worsened since yesterday. I guess we can only hope the models are struggling with the long range as they often do.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast

      Ya kinda answered your own question there, Jim. Trends in the ensembles have been slower to eject the east coast trough, which gives the west more chance to ridge up again. CFS still indicates more active weather toward the end of the month. But at this point I’m not seeing anything concrete. So all we can do is wait and hope…

  3. Chad Niel

    My heart goes out to those of you who don’t live here and have to plan your vacations weeks in advance. Not trolling, genuinely empathy.

      1. dhwilkerson

        Thanks. At least this year, I planned my trips so that they can be canceled. Maybe next year.

    1. Florida Sam

      Thanks. even hitting on a bad time is still better than anything we get over on the east coast. Would be awesome to finally hit the timing right, hopefully the end of February was a good pick! lol

    2. Josef Zee

      Planning for an 8 day trip end of Feb into Mar, with the possibility of two days at JH. Not a bad winter so far. We’ve skied Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, and just got back from WB, where the Glacier Bowl was amazing on 30Jan. Time to punch more holes into the Mountain Collective Pass.

  4. Jiří Kadlec

    At least 3 inches of new snow overnight down in Provo and Utah Valley. Total snow depth around 8 inches. This has been the best snow week of this winter in the valley so far. Hope the inversion will be strong enough to keep the snow from melting too soon 🙂

  5. Tom Bennett

    Snowbird was really great. A little bit of powder panic heading up the canyon, but the crowds turned out to be relatively light if you stayed off the tram. Once mineral basin opened up, he pretty much had West cirque and lower Baldy to ourselves and a few others.

  6. Jim

    12z Euro showing a better looking trough next weekend than 0z run. Not big…but better than nothing. Let’s hope it sticks.

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