Return of the Salt Lake Swirly

Friday, September 23, 2016 at 6:23 am


A cold, damp day today with snowfall above 7,000 feet and 6-12″ of accumulation likely above 8,000 feet.  Rain in the lower valleys.  We will dry out and start to warm up this weekend.


The bottom has fallen out on temperatures. A look at current temps across the region this morning:


Not too different from typical morning lows this time of year.  The big difference being that most of these are currently at or near the maximum for the day and may continue to cool throughout the day.  We could be looking at some record low maximum temperatures for the day.

Yesterday, we had mostly a quiet daytime around the Salt Lake area.  Meanwhile, the Uintas and eastern Utah got soaked. It was later in the day that things got exciting along the Wasatch Front.  Strong storms accompanied the front and areas north of SLC got clobbered in the afternoon with heavy rain, hail, high winds, and even a tornado in the Ogden area!!! Eventually, uniform precip developed by evening along the entire Wasatch Front and Wasatch range and continued into the overnight hours.  Total precipitation since yesterday morning:


Everybody has received decent precip so far.  Highest amounts are in the eastern Uintas where over 3-4″ of liquid has fallen so far. Great news for those of you who want to see some of those lakes filled to the brim.  Generally, between 1-2″ so far north of SLC (they also received some good addition rain Wednesday evening).  In the SLC valley and adjacent mountains, we’ve gotten 0.5-1.0″ so far.  Highest amounts of just over an inch near the U of U and Emigration Canyon.

Right now we are in a bit of a break as the cold core now approaches.  You can see this clearly on the current (5:45am) radar:


You can see the clear circulation of the low over the GSL right now.  I once had a friend dub a similar situation “the Salt Lake Swirly”.  Seems to be as good a name as any….

We should see some consistent valley rain and mountain snow today.  Snow levels would be in the 7k foot range based on the temperatures observed, could see these fall as low as 6k feet in heaviest showers today.  Accumulations should mostly be above 8k feet.  No change in the forecast from several days ago.  6-12″ still likely with perhaps a bit more over the highest elevations (especially southeast of the GSL).  It is worth noting that although this isn’t a frigid trough by mid-winter standards, it is cold enough to tap into the extremely warm water temps of the GSL right now.  Which means that rain and snow southeast of the lake could be enhanced later today and tonight.

We should see showers diminish tonight and we should clear out during the day tomorrow with cool temps in the wake.  We then start a rapid warm up as we head into next week.  Hopefully, most of this snow melts off quickly as I want to bike up high still and I don’t want to risk a weak, rotted base layer of snow.

That’s all for now! Enjoy the rest of the storm! If you have snow pictures, please use #wasatchsnowforecast to share!


P.S. Alta-Collins sensor is already reporting 4″ of new snow.  Would not be surprised at all if LCC/BCC high elevations ended up with over a foot.

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  • Erock

    Well there goes a Sunday crest ride?!

  • Spank Tickleman

    Any sign of the Pacific blob parked off California this year?

  • Neno Kolonich

    It would be interesting to know what the impact on the water level of gsl was as result of this storm.