Storms Return!

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:15 am

Summary:

After an extended break in the action, we are finally transitioning back to a more active pattern this week as a series of storms pushes into the region.  The first system of note will be affecting the region Wednesday and Thursday, with another storm for the weekend.  Additional storms possible to close out March.

Details:

This winter felt non-stop with active weather continuing without much respite.  March flipped the switch to “spring mode” and after one storm early this month, it’s been warm and mostly sunny ever since.  I can’t say I’ve been too disappointed.  I love skiing powder, but it’s been nice to get some corn skiing in for a change.  I’ve also been able to get the mountain bike tuned up and get in a few good early season rides.  I much prefer to have high pressure in March than in January.

We have certainly lost quite a bit of low elevation snowpack due to melting.  The high elevations are still sitting pretty with well-above average numbers. Resorts should have no problem staying open until their anticipated closing dates — despite our recent run of record warmth.

Attention now turns to a shifting weather pattern.  Today we will have a weak system brushing by to our north.  We will see some clouds and breezes, and perhaps a few passing showers for the far north, but any sort of accumulations are unlikely.  Snow levels through Tuesday should remain above 8,500 feet.

The first real storm arrives late Tuesday night and continues into Wednesday and Thursday with off and on mountain snow with valley rain showers.  This system will usher in much colder air than we’ve been seeing with temperatures falling back down to near seasonal norms.  The system is of decent duration and has a decent moisture tap, but is lacking a bit in organization and dynamics.  I think the snow showers from Wednesday thru Thursday will add up over time.  Total accumulations look to be in the 6-12″ range for elevations above 8,500 feet, with 3-8″ for elevations in the 7,000-8,500 range.  Obviously not a huge storm, but certainly better than nothing.

Here is a look at the NAEFS ensembles for the next 6 days or so:

Univ of Utah

You can see that there’s not much consistency.  Generally, I’d say 0.5 to 1.5″ of liquid with the first storm.  That’s quite a range, which is why I’m not too confident with this storm.

The next storm (as you can see on the above ensemble plumes) then moves in later this weekend.  Currently, it is looking like a later Saturday into early Sunday type of system.  Again, perhaps another 0.5″ to 1.0″ of liquid for this storm which could translate to 6-12″ for the high elevations.  This second storm will be dropping snow on top of the first, which may help to mitigate the dust-on-crust.

Long Range:

Right now it looks like an active pattern will continue beyond next weekend.  Both the ECMWF and the GFS depict a follow up system for late Monday into Tuesday of next week.  Both models having a tendency to drop this system farther south.  Latest GFS takes most energy south of the area but the Euro wants to bring more snow to all Utah mountains.  Will keep an eye on that.  Then additional systems are possible over the last couple days of March.  I know that mentally, you may have started to move on to other forms of recreation.  Just remember that Spring can offer up some of the best powder days of the season.  Hopefully this year is no different!

WSF

P.S.  This season has been one to remember!  After 5 years of less-than-normal Utah snowfall, it was nice to return to the “good old days”.  I certainly enjoyed it, both as a forecaster and as a skier.  As a forecaster, it was much more fun to share all the good news than having to deliver the bad (as has been the case far too often in some recent years).  It is time to accept, however, that the ski season is starting to gradually come to a close.   Wasatch Snow Forecast is a free site, and I love keeping it that way.  If you appreciate all the hard work that goes into writing these forecasts, please consider making a donation.  Due to increased traffic, I have had to upgrade to much more costly platforms to handle this increase.  Any support you can offer helps to keep the site running.  So if WSF has helped you to enjoy some powder days, a few bucks thrown our way would be very much appreciated.  And a huge thank you to those who have already donated this season!  You can donate by click HERE, or by clicking the “Donate” button below:

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  • Haydn Hunt

    Been reading wsf for 3 years now. Best forecasting for powder hounds hands down!

  • hongziyang

    ” I much prefer to have high pressure in March than in January.”

    So very true!

  • Ryan E. Kapes

    great forecasts. would like to see less marketing for whisper ridge tho.

    hoping you might disclose which commercial entities are providing financial support/gifts to you.

    • Chad Niel

      Uh, he is pretty clear about who the sponsors are, especially with whisper ridge.

    • Note sure what you’re looking for…. Whisper Ridge is one of several entities that sponsor WSF. I try to work with local companies in outdoor-related industries. Site sponsorship is helpful but only accounts for about 20-30% of the revenue that keeps the site running. Donations are by far the biggest help in keeping WSF running.

    • SkiSync

      This is kind of a silly and pointless comment! WSF is going to support their sponsors, such as they are. And there’s certainly no un”disclosed” “commercial entities” providing “gifts.” It’s a barely commercial site, for Pete’s sake! The fact that WSF can provide quality content that nobody else provides IS, actually, of value to snow sport enthusiasts and is also deserving of advertising and other promotional support.

      Does this really need to be said??

    • James McGill

      …Why would this even matter, at all? Any resort that wants to pay this site to do their advertising is completely fine to do so. Sites like this couldn’t exist without funding, whether or not it’s a financial support or a gift. You’re an idiot, dude.

    • Nelg Jefferies

      Were you dissed by Whisper Ridge for lying about your ability level on their questionnaire? Haha, that would be my guess.

  • jpz

    Think there is a chance we’ll be skiing in rain next week at Deer Valley and Park City?

    • I hope not! Not sure what days you are referring to, but right now snow levels look to be at or below 6,000 feet with these storms. So at this point I think you’re safe.

  • Brian Avondet

    Thanks Evan! You’re the man and your forecasting/ ability to give good and bad news should be the standard for all weather forecasters. You are a cut above and we are lucky to have you living in our neck of the woods. Thanks again for the time and effort you put into this. Happy to donate

  • Ryan E. Kapes

    That was the answer I was looking for. Thanks again. Could use less trolls getting personal tho. Only thought it was a bit strange to continually mention whisper ridge in the actual forecast. That’s all. Just don’t want such quality forecasting to be compromised by who is paying the most.

    • xxnitsuaxx

      Nobody is getting personal. They’re just annoyed that you’re insinuating that Evan is somehow in the pocket of “who is paying the most”. The guy makes it perfectly clear who pays him sponsorship dollars and he’s never once given anything remotely resembling preferential forecasting to WR.

      If you care so much about quality forecasting, maybe quit casting aspersions on his credibility and start donating money.

    • xxnitsuaxx

      Do you even bother looking at the bottom of every forecast, where WR is also obviously displayed as a supporter?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e741dc31f9c2b2785e32cc1318a63608b430b96c3b04c917a81ad6c9623c7799.png

  • Harry Kirschner

    There is no one more passionate about skiing and pow than Evan. I am glad he had”s “corporate sponsors” and gets to enjoy special treatment by local resorts. He enjoys it as much as the hard working people who make the resorts safe for us. Thanks Evan and all who support our powder habit!