Monday PM update:
Southerly flow today has generally been fruitful. 5-10″ reported so far across the Wasatch. Surface flow is starting to develop a bit of a easterly component as well. Would not be surprised to see Park City continue to be favored tonight. In general, I expect another 5-10″ by tomorrow morning. The storm should turn more showery tomorrow afternoon thru Wednesday with light additional accumulations. If you were debating between Tuesday and Wednesday as powder days, I’d say Tuesday is the best bet.
A long duration storm affecting the Wasatch today thru Wednesday with rain, snow, and even a chance for thunder. Snow levels will start to fall tonight with snow possible in the valleys on Tuesday. Not an ideal setup, but decent accumulations are likely in the high elevations.
I’m up early this morning (4:45am as I type this). Sickness got me down and sleep schedule is out-of-whack. Gives me a good, quiet period to look at the weather and write up a forecast, however.
Current radar this morning shows a front pushing slowly south:
Right now, it’s bringing snow to the Northern Wasatch with snow just beginning in and around the Cottonwoods. You can see the snow already falling up at Beaver Mountain from this image of Logan Canyon Summit:
I’d estimate 2-3″ already and clearly still snowing at a good clip. Also snowing in earnest at Snowbasin:
A couple inches already and coming down hard on the upper mountain.
Today, the front should sag south this morning. At the same time, the trough will sag to our west. This amplification is going to cause the frontal boundary to actually retreat back north again later today as it pivots on a point in east-central Nevada. You can see this pivot, and a “bucking bronco” effect this is expected to have on the front in this simulated radar from the HRRR model:
You can also see how this causes our flow to become southerly over the Wasatch. The coldest air is to our west. In fact, there’s a good chance we see snow levels actually climb later today into tonight up to 6500 feet or so. How much snow we see today (Monday), is largely dependent on how far south the front sags before we see it fall apart and/or retreat north again. Because of this, the Northern Wasatch should continue to be favored today.
The hope is that late tonight into Tuesday, we see the main trough finally start to swing through and the cold front will move through completely this time. This will drop snow levels and bring a round of heavy snow to the region. Snow showers will continue thru Wednesday in the cold pool behind the front.
Overall, accumulations according the the WRF-GFS composite look like this:
You can see that the two areas of highest accumulation are the area in east-central Nevada where the front “pivots” (as discussed earlier) and the High Uintas, where the southerly flow should do very well. Totals in the Wasatch are a bit less assured. The NAM is still calling for over a foot in the Cottonwoods:
As I mentioned yesterday, this storm makes me uneasy overall. Maybe I’m bitter because I’m sick and probably won’t be skiing it. There’s lots of moisture and the system is a slow mover — so we’ve got those going for us. But there’s also a lot that can go wrong. It isn’t really favorable for heavy Wasatch snowfall and I don’t trust storms like this that “cut-off” from the flow as they are unpredictable by nature. For me, there is just a much higher “skunk” risk than a typical storm.
With that said, I still think 1-2 feet is possible in the Wasatch. Perhaps higher amounts in the Uinta or if one particular area gets under heavy banding. It’s important to remember that this will be falling over a long duration, so you may not have 12+ inches of fresh at any one given time. There will also be lulls in precipitation, so don’t expect constant snowfall.
Today should be fun, especially in the Northern Wasatch. Tomorrow and Wednesday should both feature powder as well. Overall, not a bad way to end March.