The beginning…

Monday, March 28, 2016 at 5:20 am

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.



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11 thoughts on “The beginning…

  1. utahpete

    Such true dedication, sick and still doin’ the lord’s work. Snow is coming down at a decent clip in Ogden this morning.

  2. Mike R

    I’m getting the sense that it’s not as favorable for the Park City area. Is that what you’re seeing?

  3. Dafty Punk

    I know this is a little out of your range, but based on that image above this storm looks to also hit the Jackson Hole area with a good dump as well? I only ask because this weekend (coming up) is closing weekend for them.

    1. Erock

      Don’t understand this storm. Above my head. Radar looks killer all day with only 4 inches at the bird.

      1. Scot Chipman

        Northwest flow at 700mb (approx 10,000 ft) and orographic lift is king for little cottonwood snow, this storm is southerly flow through early Wednesday morning before turning northerly.

  4. Tom Bennett

    It was snowing on and off at Snowbird today. I got there about 1:00 and there was maybe 4″ at the base but plenty more along the ridgelines and traverses. Never snowed hard but would turn on and off about every 20 minutes. Heading back down the canyon it started to snow hard again, now back at my office in Park City (5:00) and it’s raining/sleeting in town, likely higher density snow up top.

    Not an expert like Evan, but I think this could go either way tonight. For PC, it seems like there’s more “weather” up here, but needs to get much colder. NOAA is pretty optimistic saying 4-8/9-11 for the Cottonwoods, but there is the possibility the front will “stall” as Evan says. Either way, happy to get powder at the end of March.

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