Warmer-than-normal and dry conditions continue through this weekend into early next week. Valley haze likely. Then, we finally see a colder storm move into the area late Wednesday into Thursday.
It’s been unbelievably quiet for the past few weeks, with little hope in the forecast. I’ve been mountain biking trails that are normally done for the season by mid-October. Definitely not the quick start to the snow year that many of us were hoping for. But, it seems the tides are slowly turning and we finally have a storm in the forecast.
Thru this weekend and into early next week, we’ll see more of the same (warm/dry/hazy). By Wednesday, a storm system will approach from the west. Snow should begin either late on Wednesday or early on Thursday for the Wasatch. This storm is fast-moving and not overly strong, so only modest accumulations are expected at this time. It will be cold enough to drop snow levels down to lower valley floors for the first time this season. So don’t be surprised if we see our first coat of white in the valleys. There is a chance that lake effect snow cold develop behind the front. November is the optimal month for lake effect snow while the lake is still warm relative to the air.
Too early for exact accumulation forecast, but right now I think most resorts in Northern Utah will stay well under a foot, probably in 6″ range if current models hold. Not a huge (yuge) storm by any means, but at least it’s a start.
It looks like we’ll have a break the following weekend (November 18-21) as another system drops down the coast. This low pressure system looks like it will cut-off a bit and spin off the California coast. We saw this earlier this fall. Like I mentioned on Wednesday, my concern with this pattern change is that the trough axis is generally going to be too far west. Here is a look at height anomalies on Thanksgiving Day:
Storms have this beautiful straight shot into the west coast from the Gulf of Alaska, however, Utah remains on the eastern fringes of the trough. I think we’ll get some storm Thanksgiving week, but my concern remains that California could get the brunt of the precipitation and the storms will weaken before the progress east across the Great Basin.
Still, it’s certainly a far better pattern than what we have been seeing, and I think our chances for periodic snowfall around and just after Thanksgiving are high.
As for resorts being able to open… I don’t think next week’s storm will be enough to get much open, but the colder air will allow resorts to make snow from Thursday onward, so I wouldn’t be shocked if a resort or two got a run or two open heading into Thanksgiving week.