If You Squint There’s Snow on the Horizon

TL;DR It’s sunny and calm today as the high pressure system remains over the Wasatch. Looking into the middle of next week we see a chance of precip, but much of the same until then. 

Humidity model courtesy of the University of Utah Weather Center. Humidity is marked in green in this model, yellow marks drier conditions.

Nowcast: North northwest winds in the mid teens this morning with gusts into the mid 20s on ridges. Winds settling down throughout the day into the single digits for tonight and tomorrow. Temps are in the mid 20s today under clear skies. 

Short-Term Forecast: The high pressure system that is over Utah remains for the weekend, bringing calm winds and high temps. Skies will remain clear with no chance of precipitation over the next few days. 

Precipitation models courtesy of Jim Steenburgh’s Little Cottonwood Guidance.

Mid-Long Range Forecast: Moving into the middle of next week is when we start to see a chance for a change in weather. A low pressure system looks to be moving in on Tuesday or Wednesday and ideally bringing some precipitation. Don’t get your hopes too high yet though! 

Snow On The Horizon?

TL;DR: A moisture starved cold front will pass over today making for cold overnight temperatures and a high of 21 at resorts today. There will be dry conditions throughout the weekend with no snowfall expected until next week. It’s early to say but sometime Monday into Tuesday we will have a low-pressure system move through the region possibly bringing a wave of storms.

Nowcast: Following the passage of a cold front today we can expect temperatures to warm up on Friday. Thursday will remain sunny throughout the day with light winds and a high of 21.

Short-Term Forecast: Going into Friday we can expect high pressure to move over the region building an inversion until Monday’s storm. Wasatch ski resorts will be sunny through Sunday with daytime temperatures heating up from 19 on Thursday to 30 on Saturday and calm winds.

Long Term Forecast: Temperatures will drop following Monday after the entrance of a low-pressure system that will give us a chance of snowfall. We can expect resorts to see temperatures in the teens next week following this event.

Source: Tropical Tidbits GFS 500 mb Height Anomoly

-Johnathan Stoddard

Keep Snow Dancing

TL; DR: As we move into the weekend high pressure will move in bringing another sunny few days. 

Now Cast: Skies are clear over the valley with only a shallow inversion today. Temps are currently below freezing but should creep up into the mid 30’s as the day progresses. 

Short Term: Look for clear skies and sunny weather over the next couple of days, nothing in the works for the near future. 

Long Term: At the moment it looks like we will be sitting under high pressure until the beginning of February. Keep doing the snow dance folks, snow will come sometime!! 

As usual if you plan on traveling in the backcountry please head over to The Utah Avalanche Center for a full avalanche forecast. 

-Nic Hofmann 

Snowless Week Ahead

TL;DR: After getting a dusting last night, we will be dry through at least next weekend. However, models are indicating that we could get a couple of decent storms next week.

Source: Snowbasin Website

Storm Snow Totals (As of Tuesday morning):

Beaver Mountain: 2″

Snowbasin: 2″

Powder Mountain: 2″

Alta: 1″

Short-Term: Wednesday will be dry out ahead of a weak cold front that passes through on Thursday. There isn’t enough moisture associated with this front to produce any snow, but cloud cover should increase during the day and temperatures will cool into the single digits Friday morning.

Long-Term: Later this week, a ridge will build into place yet again. Around Tuesday next week, ensembles are indicating that a deep trough will dig into the Intermountain West, likely bringing at least a couple storms during the week. GEFS 500 mb geopotential height anomalies on Wednesday are showing a deep trough centered over Utah. While it likely won’t play out exactly that way, it is a good indication of a more active pattern on the horizon. It’s too early to speculate on snow totals, but it looks like we’ll get more than the last couple of storms that just brought a dusting.

GEFS 500 mb height anomalies. Source: Pivotal Weather

Looking for Snow

TL;DR: A trough enters into our region on Tuesday, bringing chances for a bit of snow. Other than that, we’re looking at dry weather to close out the month.

Nowcast: Last week’s system that brought a few inches of snow to the Wasatch provided a nice refresh to the mountains. Ski conditions right now are quite good under abundant sunshine. Here’s an image showing the sun rising over the Jordanelle Reservoir from Deer Valley’s Deer Crest webcam.

Source: Deer Valley Resort

Short-term: Once again, today (Monday) will be sunny as high pressure continues to dominate the weather pattern. Tomorrow morning, a positive tilted upper-level trough will dig south into Utah, bringing chances for a few snow showers to the mountains. Unfortunately for us, the bulk of the storm energy is just a bit too far north and east to make a difference in Utah. Here is the SREF downscaled QPSF for the next 87 hours.

Source: University of Utah Department of Atmospheric Science

Note how the largest ensemble mean accumulated precipitation values are to our north and east. Some ensemble members do produce precipitation for the Wasatch though, with snowfall totals from this wave ranging from 0 to 3 inches at Alta Collins. About an inch of snow seems likely Tuesday morning. Don’t expect to be skiing powder on Tuesday or Wednesday, but we’ll take anything we can get this January.

Long-term: Unfortunately I don’t have good news to share for the long-term forecast. High pressure once again takes control after Tuesday and through the end of the month. Let’s hope for a pattern change in February!

-Michael Wasserstein

More of the same…

TL;DR – Clear sunny weather will continue through the beginning of the week. Another small short-wave trough will creep through the region Tuesday morning.

Nowcast – You guessed it, current conditions are sunny with little wind. It’s another beautiful day in the Wasatch. Time to get out and enjoy the day.

Short term – We’re going to be high and dry through the beginning of the week. There is potential for another storm to creep through on Tuesday. It shouldn’t be much if anything, but I’ll take whatever I can get at this point.

Long term – Fingers crossed the month on, month off pattern we’ve been experiencing continues. The GFS seems to be hinting towards a shift in the pattern in early February. Keep those fingers crossed!

-Peter Gombert

Dry January Continues

TL;DR: After a small refresh, we are back to dry conditions this weekend. 

Nowcast: Clouds are beginning to break this afternoon across northern Utah following the passage of a shortwave trough overnight yesterday. Unfortunately, snow totals with this storm were on the low end, but we will take anything we get after a dry past few weeks! LCC and the northern Wasatch received 3 inches of snow, BCC received 2 inches, and Park City received an inch. Mountain snow has tapered off this afternoon as another ridge builds back in over the western US.

Light snow falling in Albion Basin this afternoon. Courtest of Alta Ski Area: alta.com/weather

Short term: The shortwave trough that passed through the state this morning will close off over southern California and Arizona this afternoon. Concurrently, a ridge will begin to strengthen off the PNW coast, leading to the development of a classic Rex block pattern. A Rex block is basically just an area of high pressure above an area of low pressure, and typically persists until one of the systems changes in intensity. Unfortunately, this pattern suggests dry conditions for the area under high pressure until the pattern breaks.

Nearly textbook Rex block pattern from the GFS on Saturday morning. High pressure system located above a closed low pressure system, with a strong trough over eastern North America. Courtesy of Pivotal Weather: pivotalweather.com

Long term: The ridge is expected to shift slightly west on Monday, allowing for a weak trough to brush by Utah on Tuesday. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a lot of moisture associated with this system. Depending on the location of the trough, which will most likely change in the models in the coming days, there is a possibility for some light precipitation on Tuesday. However, the chance is low based on current model guidance. Again, it is unlikely we will see any precipitation until this pattern breaks. Ensemble means are suggesting this may occur by the end of the next work week.

-Brittany Whitlam

Small Refresh Tonight

Before the forecast, I wanted to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the skier whose body was recovered in Grizzly Gulch this morning. Be safe and take care out there, everyone.

TL;DR: Small storm system coming through tonight will bring the mountains a quick but much-needed refresh before another ridge settles in over the weekend.

Nowcast: It’s another sunny day out in the resorts with temperatures in the low to mid-twenties. Winds are light. Winds and cloud cover will increase throughout the afternoon and evening as there’s a storm brewing (it’s small but I’m excited anyways).

Short term:  This system will advance into the region this evening, coming from the north. This is driven by synoptic forcing, but will be accompanied by a mild surface to mid-level cold front. This system will advance into and over the region starting this evening, progressing in from the north northwest. Northern and Central Wasatch resorts will be favored in this flow. Snowfall will begin in the evening and continue overnight  while stopping late morning-early afternoon tomorrow as winds will shift to easterly, cutting off northwesterly flow (and with it, the snow).

Another more exciting feature of this system is that hopefully it will clear out the smog that has been plaguing the Salt Lake Valley for the last couple of weeks!

4-panel showing NAM models for early Friday hours. Top left showing the trough (in the dynamic tropopause rather than the usual 500 mb heights) with the tilted axis centered across Idaho that will advance over Utah, finally allowing for some sort of meteorological action other than inversions! Precipitation showed in the bottom right will concentrate over the Northern and Central Wasatch Mountains. Source.


Mid-range: Conditions will calm down and dry out over the weekend as another ridge sets in over the region Friday night. The ridge will be short-lived and another low pressure system will progress over the Intermountain West Monday-Tuesday. This will be accompanied with higher values of relative humidity (aka moisture) so we may have a chance for snowfall at the resorts  Tuesday next week. However, there is uncertainty in the models right now, so stay tuned for more updates.

Snow totals: For this upcoming storm, expected totals will be around 5-7 inches in the Cottonwoods, 2-4 inches at the Park City resorts, and around 3-5 inches for the Northern Wasatch resorts.

~Pauline

Might be able to go outside this week

TL;DR Cool, cloudy weather today with a cold front dropping temperatures by tomorrow. The focus is on the inversion mixing out. No real snow until Thurs night/Friday.

Right Now Today temperatures will be generally in the 20s (and maybe colder up high) and there should be a fair amount of high-level cloud cover. Nothing too exciting in the near future.

Short-Term Forecast We are sitting in between a mean ridge to our west and a mean trough to our east. There are a couple short wave troughs that will slide down the back side of this ridge to give us something to talk about. You can see the first in the 500mb heights for this morning:

Current 500mb heights https://www.pivotalweather.com/

At 500mb it will pass through this morning, but at lower elevations it won’t come through until later this afternoon or this evening. No real moisture is associated with it but will cool off temperatures. This afternoon the temperature will start dropping and tomorrow should be a bit colder than today at elevation. I don’t expect it to clear out the inversion, though, so you may not notice in the valley.

Long-term Forecast There’s a second bigger shortwave trough that looks to come through Wednesday into Thursday. This one will have a greater threat of moisture, but it could still be very hit-or-miss. Honestly at this point I’m just excited for some clear air. The time height from the U of U shows this trough (now is on the right and time increases to the left):

From weather.utah.edu

The deep moisture doesn’t arrive until Thursday night (Friday 6Z), where it only lasts for 3-6 hours, but you can see increasing low level moisture starting Wednesday. This is associated with the first shortwave trough and could begin to mix out the pollution, but it probably won’t be fully gone until Friday.

Looking even farther out, there still isn’t anything to look forward to in the 8-14 day forecasts. It’s really been a feast or famine type year for Northern Utah.

-Thomas DeWitt

Warm and Dry

TL;DR As the high pressure system remains over Utah temps are high and winds low today in the canyons. This will continue throughout the week with a chance for precipitation at the end of the week.

This afternoon’s temperatures in the cottonwoods courtesy of MesoWest. It’s looking awfully spring like for January . . .

Nowcast  The base of the mountains logged temps around 40 today with the peaks around 25. Winds are in the single digits with gusts into the teens on ridge lines. There is a partial cloud cover, but nothing significant. 

Short-Term Forecast The current high pressure system moves out tomorrow morning with another moving in on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the short decrease in pressure isn’t going to bring any significant precipitation. Winds may also pick up as the week continues but will remain generally low. 

Wind and precipitation forecasts for the week courtesy of https://www.inscc.utah.edu/~steenburgh/ml/lccforecast.html

Mid-Long Range Forecast There is potential for a low pressure system to move in at the end of the week that may bring some precipitation. Enjoy the sun this week!