Hope your powder legs are rested…

Monday, January 2, 2017 at 6:26 am


Fresh snow this morning as a cold front passed through the region.  Some additional light snow is likely over the next 24 hours.  A break on Tuesday afternoon and evening before more snow arrives Wednesday into Thursday.  Another break Friday and Saturday before another storm late in the weekend into early next week.  Yeehaw!


Finally, we have some semblance of agreement between models and their respective runs over the last 24 hours.  They’ve settled on good news overall, but we’ll get to that in a second.

First, we had a cold front push through overnight.  Heaviest snow seemed to fall in far northern Utah where resorts up there (Snowbasin, PowMow, Beaver) are reporting 7-8″ of new snow.  Here’s the Snowbasin stake overnight:

Farther south, the Cottonwoods and Park City were more variable, but also saw some snow.  Anywhere from 4″ to 10″ being reported by these resorts.  Overall, the forecast was 5-10″ and I’d say we are already essentially in that range.  Luckily, we’ll see some additional snowfall later today and tonight as the front pushes back north a bit due to upstream amplification.  Could see another 3-6″ by tomorrow morning for totals to be above the forecast.

On Tuesday, we’ll have somewhat of a break, although some snow showers will still be possible.

On Tuesday night into Wednesday, we’ll see warm air advection into the region ahead of the next front.  This will raise snow levels a bit, perhaps off valley floors, but we should see a good period of snowfall for the mountains Wednesday into Wednesday night.  Then, we could see a short break at some point late Wednesday night before the cold front itself pushes through.  This will drop snow levels back down to valley floors and bring another period of snowfall to the region.  Too early to really get into snowfall amounts, but they could be fairly significant during the Wednesday-Thursday night period.

Another break in the action on Friday and Saturday as a ridge briefly builds over the area.

Next storm will be the product of a massive low pressure center and trough over the Pacific Northwest.  All signs point to this system grabbing abundant moisture and funneling it into the Sierra Nevada, with the leftover spilling in across the Great Basin to Utah.  Too early for details, but the mountains have another good shot at significant snowfall between late Sunday and Tuesday of next week.  This storm, however, will have warmer air and we could see a rise in snow levels.

Of course, all this action could mean very healthy water amounts.  Currently ensembles advertise the following for the Upper Cottonwoods (courtesy of Univ of Utah):

If the GFS’s ensembles (dark green lines), then we should see 3-7″ of liquid between now and Sunday night.  Keep in mind that much of the next week’s storm is still off the graph.

Believe it or not, we are likely just seeing the leftovers.  The brunt of this precipitation will be hitting the Sierra Nevadas, as evidenced by the snowfall plumes for the Central Sierra Snow Lab in California:

Snow levels are always their enemy, but the highest elevations could be looking at some prodigious snowfall amounts over the next 10 days.

Long Range:

Too much action over the next week to worry about the long range for now.  Instead here is a look at where our snowpack stood on New Year’s Day:

We’ve fallen a touch since I last posted this with the quiet weather over the past 5 days, but we are still above average statewide!

At Snowbird’s snotel site, we can see how we are faring compared to the previous 5 years:

This year (dark blue line) we are just barely ahead of January 1, 2013 for first place.  At 145% of the median this year.  Very healthy!  Ironically, we are only an inch above January 1, 2015 as well.  If you remember, we saw very little snow that year after the New Year and we ended up with the worst season on record.  With the upcoming forecast, it’s hard to imagine us in much better shape.



This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

7 thoughts on “Hope your powder legs are rested…

  1. LauraNorCal

    Hi WSF,

    A very exciting forecast indeed. Sadly, I have to travel back to NorCal via i80. Would it be better to leave later today or tomorrow morning? When will Donner Pass be seeing the most significant action? Trying to thread the needle to avoid the worst of these storms. Wish I could stay and ski powder all week!

  2. Marie

    Your closing paragraph makes us sound like we have an ominous future !! 😳 Is that the way it was meant??

    1. Taylor

      I was thinking the same thing! I think he meant to say we’ll be in better shape, or “hard to imagine us in much worse shape.”

Comments are closed.