Flattening of the Ridge

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 5:33 am


Two warm days today and tomorrow ahead of the next storm that moves in Thursday morning.  Snow thru the day on Thursday in the high elevations with moderate accumulations likely.  Good powder likely on Thursday with leftovers on Friday.


High pressure is currently in control, but that will change Wednesday night as a trough pushes in and temporarily flattens the ridge.  You can see the high pressure being flattened by the storm in this loop:


(Metaphorical Approximation)

Snow levels will initially be high with very dense snow above 7,500 feet on Wednesday night ahead of the front.  Then snow levels will crash Thursday morning as the cold front pushes through.  Snow will likely be heavy at times.  You can see the current NAM qpf output here:



Showing almost an inch of liquid for the Upper Cottonwoods.  Similarly, the NAEFS ensembles:


You can see the mean has gone up since yesterday to 1.4″ of liquid from this storm.  Also, the outliers are now in line which means the range is significantly more focused, thus improving confidence.  You can also see the two parts of this storm, the pre-front moisture, followed by the sharp increase in intensity as the front itself moves through.  All ensembles are generally in the 1-2″ range.  Given the tendency for this to be overdone just a bit, I think a forecast of .75-1.5″ of liquid for the Cottonwoods is good.   Due to the dense nature of this snow, this translates to 7-14″ of snow…  so we’ll call that the forecast for now for the Cottonwoods.  Other areas of the Wasatch may suffer from lower elevation and shadowing.  I think the Northern Wasatch can expect 5-10″ above 7k feet with 4-8″ for PC ridgeline.

So….  Not a bad storm considering it is coming in during a broader period of ridging.  Make the most of it!


P.S.  If you’re trying to choose between Thursday and Friday, I would choose Thursday at this point.  The storm has been trending faster, so I think Friday will mostly be leftovers.  Thursday free refills sound like a good bet.

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  • Blake

    How do you think powder mountain specifically will do from this storm? Also, will first chair be worth it or maybe a later show time?

  • Steve French

    Super. Right on time for everyones (cancelled, doh!) trips.

    • Florida Sam

      Congrats Steve, you win the internet again.

      • Steve French

        Thanks Sam. Really put my all into that one. I hope it snows fresh gold for your 2017 trip.

  • Erock

    Is this going to be wet dense snow for the duration of event? I understand the pre frontal precip will be heavy.

  • The Nockle

    Your depiction of the synoptic weather picture is priceless. Been laughing for a few minutes now. One of the funniest things you have posted for a while 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Tom Bennett

    I will be out of town Thursday, which more or less ensures this storm will outperform ;). For what it’s worth though, got a few lunch runs in at Park City (Canyons Side) and although crunchy on some faces, snow is holding up surprisingly well given the temps.

  • Dan V

    High pressure being flattened by the storm is the funniest thing I’ve every seen.

  • Steve Noufer

    Evan, the NWS downgraded Thursday storm to 3-7 inches in Cottonwoods. Did something happen with the storm?

  • Rick

    Headed to Alta for my first time on Thursday. looks like i’m brining the Sierra Cement with me from Kirkwood. Hoping for a great day