A quiet end to 2016. Then snow returns for early next week, but the main story will be the bitter cold middle of next week. Perhaps the coldest temperatures we’ve seen in awhile.
Not really much going on in the region for the rest of the year. Ridge is amplifying up into the Gulf of AK, which is important, because this will allow cold air and weak systems to drop down the backside of the ridge as we head into the new year.
First action will arrive Sunday night with chances for snow continuing into Monday. This will be accompanied by our first shot of cold air. This storm looks rather tame with snow mostly falling along a cold front. Models portraying anywhere from .3-1.0″ of liquid. Right now that looks like anywhere 5-15″ of snow. Highest amounts likely in places like the Cottonwoods, as well as Central Utah, where the boundary is likely to stall out. We could see occasional light snow Tuesday and Wednesday, but accumulations will likely be minimal after Monday.
The big story is the cold air. After Monday’s initial surge of cold air, we see additional pushes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday currently look to be the coldest days. At a minimum, it’s going to be very cold. There is some potential for this to be near record cold. High temperatures on the mountain will likely be around 0F and high temps in the lower valleys like SLC are likely to only be in the low teens. Low temps below 0F are likely throughout. The snow will be light and fluffy, but you’ll have to really bundle up to be out on the slopes in those temps, so be careful!
Certainly the story of the first week of January is the cold rather than the snow. For the second week of the month, there are indications that the amplified ridge will be undercut. We could get an interesting combination of remaining cold air, and ample moisture streaming in off the Pacific. Latest GFS takes the best moisture south of use. But previous runs and the EC have it taking dead aim. We’ll just have to watch and see how this plays out. It will likely be our next chance for more significant snowfall around January 9th (give or take a day).