Thursday AM update:
Everything still looking good. Still have my worries about this storm dropping too far south and splitting a bit. But, I think we can bump up expected totals again to 1-2 feet. Best skiing will be late Saturday and Sunday. White Christmas!
Wednesday PM update:
An update tonight as I will not be able to update tomorrow morning. Storm still looks good for this weekend. If anything there was a slight increase in amounts in the models. Moisture associated with a closed low will bring mountain snow to Southern Utah tonight into tomorrow. Could be a bit of a powder day down south tomorrow if you’re willing to travel.
Saturday, the main storm pushes in. Areas favored in southwest flow will do well on Saturday. Flow turns northwesterly later in the day into Saturday night. This will then favor areas like the Wasatch front and the Cottonwoods into Christmas morning.
Right now, I think it’s safe to bump up forecasted totals a bit from the conservative amounts given earlier today. 8-16″ with higher amounts possible. I don’t normally forecast for the lower elevations like the Salt Lake Valley, but to my eyes, it looks like there is a high probability of a white Christmas morning. I’d recommend staying at home with family. Skiing won’t be any good. 😉
A weak cold front will bring some snow showers to the region today. Accumulations should remain very light. A stronger storm for this weekend will bring snow to all Utah mountains and give many areas a chance for a white Christmas.
A very weak cold front is dropping through the Salt Lake Valley as I type this at 6am. A few snow showers are possible but accumulations should be minimal. We’ll clear out later today.
A break on Thursday and Friday. Then attention turns to our next system for the weekend. As mentioned yesterday, this system is digging a bit farther south than its predecessors and will likely favor Southern Utah more than the north. With that said, all Utah mountains should see snowfall. Precipitation will likely increase on Saturday in a southwesterly flow. Expect that the Northern Wasatch (Snowbasin/PowMow/Beaver) and Uintas will be favored in this pattern as usual. Sometimes Sundance and Deer Valley can do well in a southwest flow as well. Then, the front axis will push through Saturday night with snow levels falling to valley floors. How much snow the Cottonwoods get may depend on how much of a cool northwesterly flow we can get behind the front. As mentioned before, this storm is not ideal for Northern Utah.
Still, many mountains have high likelihood of receiving 6 or more inches of snow:
And when you change to greater than 1 inch of snow, then most valleys have a high probability:
That means that there’s a high likelihood that many of us see fresh snow on Christmas morning.
As for powder skiing, right now southern Utah is looking the best for the high precip amounts:
The NAEFS ensembles for the Upper Cottonwoods:
A few rogue Canadian ensembles are pulling up the mean. Focusing on the GEFS, it looks like by late Sunday we are between 1.0-1.5″ of QPF for the Upper Cottonwoods. All things considered, I think conservatively we can expect 6-12″ of snow for the high elevations this weekend with perhaps a bit more in favored locations. Higher amounts for the mountains of southern Utah.
Best day for powder skiing/riding looks to be late in the day Saturday and Sunday.
I wish I could give you information about the long range but model performance has been unusually poor with very little agreement or run-to-run consistency. Right now, it does look like we’ll have a chance for something middle of next week. Stay tuned…