Storm coming…

Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 7:28 am


The pattern change is arriving, which means that with it comes our first storm of any significance in quite some time.  Snow will begin in Northern Utah on Sunday and continue into Sunday evening.  Monday morning powder!


Yesterday we talking about the impending pattern change and how it would impact California.  There were some questions as to how much of that energy would make it to Utah.  Today we have a little bit clearer picture, at least with our initial storm on Sunday.

The trough will barrel into California late on Saturday and the initial wave of precip will push across the Great Basin Sunday morning, arriving in Utah by midday Sunday.  Snow in the afternoon and lingering into the evening for the Wasatch.  Snow levels will initially be at 7,000 feet or perhaps a touch higher, but should quickly fall down to 5,000 feet or lower as the front moves through.  The timing of this storm would mean that it could get good for the last couple hours on Sunday, but the best turns should be had on Monday morning.

As for how much snow for us…  The GFS is the most bullish (surprise).  It brings through a lot of moisture and drops fairly significant precipitation.  The latest NAEFS plumes show this:

I love these graphics and that’s why you see me use them a lot.  They show not only a good mean amount, but they also show the level of uncertainty based on the range of the ensembles.  Right now, we are at medium confidence, which is to be expected when we are 3-4 days out from the event.  The mean shows nearly 2″ of liquid QPF by Monday afternoon for the Upper Cottonwoods.  I usually think this is overdone by about 20-30%.  So, I’ll say the GFS is showing 1.5″ of liquid for the Upper Cottonwoods which would generally translate to 1-1.5″ for the rest of the mountain range.  The ECMWF (Euro), on the other hand, shows much less moisture and a faster system.  It puts down about .75″ for the Upper Cottonwoods and .4-.75″ for other areas of the Wasatch.  The EC has a dry bias for the region and is also lower resolution and doesn’t pick up terrain as well, so I think that is a bit underdone.  With those two major models in mind, and the NAM not yet within range, making a forecast is a bit tricky.  I think splitting the middle ground is wise for now.  That means .5-1.0″ for most of the Wasatch with 1-1.5″ for the Cottonwoods.   This translates to 6-12″ of snow with a foot or more possible in the Cottonwoods.  Of course, this is very much subject to change — but it’s an early look at what is possible.

The big change from yesterday then comes for the middle part of next week.  Yesterday, models were very much in agreement that, at the very least, additional energy would ripple through the region for much of the week.  Now, they have settled on a drier solution in which ridging builds for a few days ahead of the next trough.  This will allow us to warm up a bit more than expected with some windy conditions for Wednesday-Friday of next week. The next trough is then progged to move in for next weekend, with snow likely returning.  Too early for any details on this storm just yet.  It does look like there’s a good chance for another storm beyond that around mid-month but we are out in fantasy land right now…



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  • c j s

    well that’s a bit different than yesterday.. hopefully things ramp up with all that west coast action.

  • morganhomer

    Guess it’s time to pull the trigger and get there Sunday for Monday’s fun (and not wait for next weekend’s possibility)?

  • Steve French

    Have a few extra seats on my jet to Reno Saturday morning. $10,000 a seat. 25% discount for betches.

    • Mattypowpow

      Ill take one.

  • Jersey

    how quickly the hype goes up and how it comes down even faster.

    Still surprising after having good model agreement yesterday.

    • Evan

      tell me about it. Certainly not Evan’s fault… every model seemed to agree on a serious week of snow capped with a killer weekend. Would’ve expected it to deteriorate a bit more gradually though from that solution, but it basically went down the drain in one run. Maybe things can get better as quickly as they went away?

      • Jersey

        Time is still on our side. Things can change just as they did when you booked your trip for the following weekend thinking it wasn’t going to snow this weekend.

        If it makes you feel any better I always go to Utah once a year and many times I only go for half a week. Guess how many times it always snows on the opposite end of the week and none at all when I’m there? Very often.

        • Evan

          I know the feeling, but agree…there is always hope.