First storm in our annual Spring Roller Coaster

Friday, March 4, 2016 at 6:45 am


Storms returning to Utah with the first one slated to move in on Sunday into Sunday night.  Monday powder day! A break later next week with another storm for next weekend (March 12/13).


Not a lot of change from yesterday’s forecast.  Storm pushes in by midday Sunday with snow likely in the mountains.  Snow levels will start out high Sunday morning (7k-7.5k) but quickly crash down to 5000 feet or so and should not be an issue.  I still think that as long as timing holds, last chair Sunday should be good, but first chair Monday is prime time.

The 12km NAM is now fully within range and shows the following snow amounts for the Upper Cottonwoods:


This supports yesterday’s forecast of up to a foot for the Cottonwoods.  Park City resorts and other resorts will likely be in the 4-8″ range.  GFS is still more bullish on moisture than the Euro, but they’re closer today than yesterday so I think .5-1.25″ inches of liquid storm total is generally the range we’ll see in the Wasatch.

Looking at a map of this storm, we can check out the WRF-GFS composite from our friends at the University of Washington:


For some stupid reason I cut off the legend of this map and I’m too lazy to re-crop it.  The yellow colors in the Sierra show 3-4+ feet of snow over the next 84 hours!!!!  We talked about how good these storms will be for Cali a couple days ago, so no surprise, but still impressive.  For Utah, the pink colors show areas with 6 inches or more of snow.  The darker pink areas over the Cottonwoods show up to a foot of snow — in line with the forecast above.

Overall, not a huge storm for Utah but certainly not bad.  Powder should be available.  A chance for a few lingering showers on Tuesday, then we clear out for Wednesday-Friday with mild temps in advance of the next system.

Next storm pushes in next Saturday according to both the GFS and ECMWF.  At this time it looks to be another moderate storm, but of course, this is 8 days out and a lot can change.  Both models indicate a chance for an additional storm or two after that around mid-month.


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  • Jim

    The NAEFS downscale model you showed yesterday is still showing higher snow totals than the NAM. I see there are a few crazy outliers skewing the mean upwards. Do you think that is overdone? Is 12-18 inches not unreasonable for LCC.

  • CharlieRN

    There’s a great quote in Jim Steenburg’s book “Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth”:
    “Storms don’t come to Little Cottonwood to die. They come to be reinvigorated and rage on.”

    Let’s hope that’s the case here . . .

    • Jim

      Agreed. This storm looks anemic on the models, not sure why. Maybe it will surprise us!

  • Antonio

    So your saying my trip to the PM/basin area the 14th-18th might actually be well timed? This is unpossible…MOAARRR SNOW!!!!

  • Chad Niel

    If I have learned anything from following your comment threads its that if i ever move away and my skiing time turns into annual trips, spend the extra money for cat skiing

    • Steve French

      Or just not come on the comment thread and complain the way those people did recently. You book that far out = You know the risk. Better strategies: A. take multiple shorter trips. B. Shut up.

      • Evan

        I’d say I probably fulfill all of the above^… I spend the extra money for cat skiing, I take multiple shorter trips booked as close as possible, and I consistently complain about things out of my control 😉 Can’t stop coming back to Utah though