Tantalizing Possibilities

Monday, December 5, 2016 at 6:20 am


Light snow showers today with a weak wave.  Additional snow showers tomorrow with a second wave that will usher in the coldest air of the season for Tuesday and Wednesday.  More mountain snow likely later this week. A very intriguing forecast.


Right now we are dealing with a weak wave that is pushing through the region. As of 6am this morning, there is a band of mostly light snow that is trying very hard to impact the Salt Lake Valley just in time for the commute.  Some of this snow has made it up into the mountain with some resorts reporting an inch or two this morning.  Could see another inch or two by noon today before we clear out.

A second, colder wave drops in for Tuesday afternoon into evening.  This wave is also weak, but could add an additional few inches.  Overall, totals now thru Wednesday morning should be 4-8″, but it will be falling over a long period of time, so it likely won’t feel that deep at any given time while riding/skiing.  The main story is the cold air.  20s in the valleys and single digits in the mountains likely for Wednesday.

A break Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the next system that pushes in Thursday night.  This storm is much warmer and we will see snow levels rise up well off valley floors for the main push of moisture on Friday.  We may see additional waves keep showers around thru the weekend.  Models showing a lot of moisture with this storm.  You can see below the NAEFS ensembles are generating anywhere from 2-4″ of qpf for the Upper Cottonwoods between now and the end of the weekend:

Univ of Utah

Univ of Utah

There is a lot of variability in the models.  The ECMWF (euro) is weaker and more unorganized, but still brings in 1.5″ of liquid between now and Sunday evening.  I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll see some decent high elevation snow.  The higher densities will be good for base building.  The timing bodes well for the weekend warriors as well.  We’ll see how this storm plays out.

The GFS, and to an extent the EC, then give us a break to start next week before bringing in another storm for the middle of next week.  Again, there are some atmospheric river qualities to this system.  If you’re a GFS watcher at home, then no doubt you are salivating at what model runs have been showing lately:


Some prodigious amounts of snow.  I’m tempted to get excited too, but…. The Euro isn’t nearly as wet and has a better track record for this type of thing.  Right now, I think the worst case scenario is that we get some decent snow.  The best case scenario is shown above.

We’ll just have to wait and see how model trends take us over the next few days.

Long range:

As mentioned previously, there’s a storm for the middle of next week that could impact the area.  After which, there’s virtually no agreement beyond mid-month.  Some ensembles show continued storms while others have a ridge develop.  Can’t really provide much insights based on current guidance.



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8 thoughts on “Tantalizing Possibilities

  1. Aaron

    I’m coming out Dec 16-18, and planning on skiing Alta snowbird and solitude.. do you expect a lot more terrain to be open by then?

    1. Tim Akers

      It probably depends on how next week pans out. Resorts are working hard to get as much open as they can!

        1. Erock

          There is a good amount open at snowbird for first week in December. Continued snowmaking and an active weather pattern yes I think at Alta or solitude there will be plenty open for you to enjoy

  2. dgggg

    Want to come out from Chicago to ski next weekend. Should i buy the ticket or wait for pow forecast to solidify?

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