Spring is here!

TL;DR: Ridge building today with warm temperatures, followed by a dry frontal passage overnight into Friday that brings more seasonable temperatures to the region. Snow forecast is looking bleak. 🙁

Nowcast: After a short stint into summer last week (hello 79 degrees!), and a brief period of winter yesterday, it seems we are finally settled into more seasonable temperatures. The storm early this week brought roughly a foot of snow to the Cottonwoods, as well as about 4 inches to the Park City/Deer Valley side of the Wasatch. I hope you all are out enjoying the powder this morning before the strong April sun takes over; this may have been the last big storm for the Wasatch (though I’m crossing my fingers that this is not the case…).

Today looks to be a beautiful bluebird day, with temperatures currently in the mid-50s across the valley, and mid- to upper-30s at resort base elevation. After the passage of a trough to our southwest, a ridge is currently building in, bringing these warmer temperatures, dry westerly flow, and clear skies. Check out this gorgeous view from the webcam at Albion Basin:

Image courtesy of Alta Ski Area.

The troposphere really is quite dry currently, and will likely stay that way today and tomorrow before a cold frontal passage. This morning’s sounding from the airport reflects the lack of moisture, as shown below. A skew-T can be a little frightening at first glance, but the thing to notice here is the large difference between temperature (red line) and dewpoint (green line) throughout the troposphere (y-axis depicts increasing height or decreasing pressure).

Graphic courtesy of NOAA Storm Prediction Center.
Image courtesy of University of Utah, Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

You can also see the nocturnal inversion, where temperature briefly increases with height near the surface. This trapped a bit of smog overnight, as seen on the webcams on the University of Utah campus. Luckily, we have enough solar radiation this time of year to quickly mix out, so we won’t have to worry about bad air quality.

Short-term: There’s unfortunately not much snow to talk about in the near future. Temperatures will continue to warm today and tomorrow, with highs just above normal. A trough will scrape past northern Utah overnight into Friday, bringing a relatively dry cold frontal passage Thursday night. It might be a bit breezy along this front, but nothing precipitation-wise. Temperatures Friday will be pretty seasonable, with highs in the mid-50s in the valley.

Graphic courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

Long-term: After the frontal passage on Thursday night, another ridge builds in, bringing seasonably warm temperatures on Saturday. Models are suggesting another trough scraping by into Sunday, likely bringing temperatures back down to average. Unfortunately, this trough also seems to be pretty dry. Let’s hope we can squeeze in another big storm before the season ends. In the mean time, enjoy the spring skiing conditions!
– Julie

One-Off Sleeper Day

TL;DR: An upper low tracking across the UT/ID border brought heavy snow to the Wasatch overnight. Skiing conditions should hold strong through tomorrow morning, before the hot April sun begins to affect the new snow. There isn’t a ton of snow coming, so maybe get after it while you can.

Nowcast: As of about noon Tuesday, our storm has deposited 7-8″ of new snow in BCC, 9-12″ in LCC, and ~5″ across the Park City resorts. Mountain temperatures are low, in the teens and 20s. This should keep the snow nice while the clouds stick around today.

With the upper low now off to our east, northwest flow behind the low is supporting continued snow showers.

NW flow behind the trough is keeping the threat of snow showers around, tapering by the mid afternoon.
Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

Short Term Forecast: Snow will end soon as the airmass impeding on the Wasatch dries out, and we will transition back to clear skies by tonight. This leaves a short window for good snow quality – if you want to ski pow again this season I’d recommend a dawn patrol tomorrow. The caustic April sun will do some damage to the snow by lunchtime tomorrow on all but the shadiest slopes.

As for snow chances in the mid and long range, there isn’t a ton to discuss. A trough will graze us from the north Thursday evening, possibly supporting a snow shower or two, but don’t expect any accumulations. Another trough is expected to miss us to the north again this Sunday. At this point I’m hoping to see guidance trend farther south with this feature, as the going solution won’t bring any real snow.

I hope we get at least one more April dump, but the forecast looks a touch bleak. You’d better go skiing tomorrow morning.

-Nathan

High and Dry

TL:DR: High temperatures, bluebird skies and spring skiing are here

Nowcast: Base temps have reached the upper 30s today, with the ridglines and summits maintaining temps just below 30. Winds have died down and currently sit at ~5 mph with gusts up to 10 mph.

It is quite clear – William Browning Building (forecast.utah.edu)

Short Term Forecast: All models are pointing to a ridge building over Utah for the next day and proceeding to stay put. Temperatures in the valley will hit 70 on thursday, before rising even further to the upper 70s (!) on Friday. Mountain temps will cruise up into the 40s Friday and the 50s (!) over the weekend. The big spring warm-up is here.

Valid 6am Sunday, April 4th (tropicaltidbits.com)

Mid Term Forecast: All models are pointing to a sustained ridge through the weekend (shown above) covering the continental US. This weekend is expected to have temps 20 degrees higher than normal, a chance for some records to be broken. No precipitation is expected for the rest of the week or weekend. There is a heavy chance of cut-off jean shorts, ski-blades and animal costumes on the slopes this weekend, promptly followed by fresh goggle tans in your monday zoom calls.

Long Term Forecast: The ridge will move eastward starting monday, bringing more normal seasonal temperatures early next week. A trough may be on its way mid-week, but there is still a large amount of uncertainty remaining amongst the models.

-Corey

Dusty cold frontal passage

TL;DR: Cold frontal passage earlier today led to cooler, windy conditions with plenty of dust transport from the West Desert. Ridge sets in by Wednesday, bringing warm, sunny weather to northern Utah for the near future.

Nowcast: Well, I wish I could say it was a great day for skiing (spring skiing, even!), but it really was not. While we did have a strong cold front pass through northern Utah this morning, its origins were quite dry and it didn’t bring any snow to the Wasatch. What it did bring, was plenty of dust from the West Desert, and some pretty gusty winds, especially at crest level. In the satellite imagery below, you can see the dust (yellow) being transported from the NNW. If you took a look outside earlier, you might not have even seen the Wasatch or the Oquirrhs.

Graphic courtesy of CIRA-CSU.

Dust on snow certainly is not great for the snowpack. More dust means less solar radiation is reflected off the snow (i.e. more solar radiation is absorbed), and the snow will melt faster. Plus, no one likes to ski on gritty dust.

It was quite gusty at the mountains today, with winds up to 76 mph at the Hidden Peak site, at 11,000 feet, and wind chills below zero after the frontal passage. Temperatures also had a huge change with this strong cold front, from a high of 50 degrees at the Alta-Collins site yesterday, to a low near 19 degrees around 2pm today.

Short-term: Winds will continue to die down this evening, as the upper-level trough advects to our east. This will be a great setup for a persistent ridge through at least the weekend. While that’s not great for our powder hounds out there, this set up could make for some fun spring skiing in the second half of the week and into the weekend. Highs in the valley will approach the mid to upper 70s by the weekend, which means temperatures likely well above freezing for the higher elevations.

Long-term: Warm! Dry! Not great for powder, but it’s time to break out your spring skiing gear and sunscreen. Hopefully we’ll get some more winter storms soon. Enjoy!
– Julie

Spring has Sprung

TL;DR: A small dusting last night brings us into a mild and sunny weekend. Highs will mostly be in the mid-thirties today across Utah resorts.

Nowcast: The trailing end of the postfrontal northwest flow brought the resorts a trace to an inch of snow last night to the Central Wasatch resorts. We are now seeing a high pressure ridging system setting in throughout this weekend, giving us warmer temperatures, clear skies, a cool breeze, and some lovely spring skiing conditions. The temperature highs today will be in the low thirties in the Cottonwood resorts, mid-forties in the resorts in the Wasatch Back, and mid-to-high thirties in the resorts in both the Northern Wasatch and Southern Utah.

Park City Ski Resort mountain cam at Silverlode showing some true spring skiing conditions. Courtesy of https://www.parkcitymountain.com/

Short-term Forecast: Sunday will be much like today; conditions will be clear and sunny, there will be some high and thin clouds in the sky, the winds will pick up a little more as the ridge sets in (speeds will be in the low-to-mid teens), and temperatures will continue to rise into the low forties as the stable air mass parked above us will continue to warm. The bulk of the ridge will pass through this weekend, and by early Monday morning, a trough will start to dig down into Utah from the northwest. A slight cold front and advection of moisture will accompany the leading end of this trough, and around an inch of snow will be deposited on the Central Wasatch resorts. Powder Mountain and Snowbasin will be slightly favored in this weather pattern as they are expecting around 2-3” of snow. The snow will be rather wet and dense as temperatures will only drop to around freezing. The snow will be met with some considerable westerly winds prevailing in the 20 mph range, gusting up to 40 mph or even higher on the ridges.

GFS model showing late Monday morning conditions shows the front marked by a strong pressure gradient, high winds, and a patch of moisture. Courtesy of weather.utah.edu

Long-term Forecast: Through Tuesday morning there will be chance for snow. Conditions will clear up again by Tuesday evening as there is an incoming ridge from northwest that will move into Utah and should prevail throughout the week. Sunny skies are ahead for the rest of the week, along with light to breezy winds and mild temperatures that will increase throughout the week.

Happy spring skiing everyone ????

Pauline Kneller

Mild Weekend

TL;DR: Convective showers under northwest flow may bring another inch or two through the end of the day for the Cottonwoods and Provo Canyon. Dry and mild conditions will prevail through this weekend. 

Sundance this morning. Courtesy of Sundance Mountain Resort: https://www.sundanceresort.com/mountain-report/

Nowcast: Snow showers are beginning to wind down this morning over the Wasatch range. Post-frontal northwest flow is allowing some convective showers to continue over Provo Canyon this morning. Sundance was the real winner overnight, racking up an additional 6 inches since the lifts stopped spinning yesterday. LCC was close behind with an additional 5 inches overnight. Any additional snowfall over the Wasatch this afternoon is expected to be spotty and light. Expect these showers to wrap up by sunset. 


Radar loop over northern Utah this morning shows snow showers winding down over the Wasatch. Courtesy of COD NEXLAB: https://weather.cod.edu/satrad/?parms=local-Salt_Lake-comp_radar-24-1-100-1&checked=map&colorbar=undefined

Short term: This season gave us a new storm system nearly every weekend, but that will unfortunately not be the case this weekend. High pressure will build in overnight, allowing dry and mild conditions to prevail through Monday. Clouds will begin to break this evening, giving way to mostly sunny skies through the weekend. Temps will gradually warm as well, with highs reaching the low 40s in the upper elevations by Monday.

Long term: A dry cold front is expected to pass through northern Utah on Monday. This cold front, associated with a potent trough that originated from Siberia, will leave substantially cooler temperatures in its wake. Gusty winds will precede this front as pressure gradients tighten as it digs into our region. Unfortunately, this system lacks sufficient moisture and will produce little to no precipitation. High pressure will build in behind this system and persist through the end of the forecast period. 

Alta time-height shows the dry cold front passage on Monday morning as wind picks up and shifts to the southwest. Courtesy of Utah Weather: http://weather.utah.edu/index.php?runcode=2021032606&t=gfs0.25&r=ALTA&d=ET

Brittany Whitlam

Snow Tonight

TL;DR – Showery today turning heavier tonight with heavier snow likely west of SLC. Drying and warming for the weekend with no major storms looking likely next week.

Nowcast – No snow in the past 24 hours but this morning we have extensive cloud cover and a few showers around. Wasatch crest winds have shifted from the unusual eastern direction to a more typical westerly.

Short term – Today and tomorrow, Utah will be under the influence of a trough that is slowing moving through. The trough is best seen below where northern Utah is on the SE side of the trough axis, a favorable location for precipitation and snow in the mountains!

GFS 500 height forecast 12pm today – Weatherbell

As this trough works its way through today, it won’t bring as much steady precip as it will showery weather. Mountain accumulations won’t be very impressive today as a result. Tonight into tomorrow represents higher uncertainty though. It looks like a steadier band of snow will set up somewhere bringing with it higher snowfall totals. Right now, this band looks to set up west of I-15 favoring the Oquirrhs and Stansbury’s vs the Wasatch.

HRRR product showing most precip to the west of SLC – Weatherbell

The Wasatch will still get snow though. I’m thinking most ski areas pick up between 6-12 inches between now and late Friday. This could certainly change though if the band shifts to the east.

Long term – Following this event, Saturday dries out and we take a break for a bit. Monday and Tuesday a fairly cold trough looks to drop in. It looks moisture starved, so not much snow is expected at this point. After that, a big ridge appears likely to build in warming temperatures significantly for the end of next week.

CJ Sawyer

Spring Storming

TL;DR – A decent storm will arrive around mid-day tomorrow and stick around through Thursday to freshen things up before high pressure comes back this weekend.

Nowcast – Wednesday saw a nice morning with some pre-frontal gusty winds and colder temperatures moving in this afternoon. Moisture started to build in the valley as clouds moved in and darkened the skies.

Via Tropicaltidbits.com. Tomorrow’s storm will hit in bulk overnight.

Short term – Snow should start about 12pm tomorrow in the mountains, and continue through Thursday. Models show a mean accumulation of about 7-9″, but there is still much uncertainty, as it ranges from 2″ all the way to 13″. But with the storm sticking around for almost a full 24 hours, it is a safe bet to be planning on soft turns for Thursday.

Long term – After this week’s storm, there is not much of significance on the horizon. The Salt Lake Valley will see temperatures in the 60’s next week, and spring skiing might swing into high gear pretty soon. Alta could see temperatures as high as 50 on Sunday and Monday, so get those corn turns in before the season comes to a close!

Steve Mammano

The Unpredictability of Spring

TL;DR: Utah resorts reported 0-5 inches of new snow overnight mostly focused on Southern and Northern Utah. We should clear out tomorrow with another storm scheduled for midday Thursday into Friday.

Nowcast: Beaver mountain reported 5 inches of snow overnight while all other resorts fell short of that. Brian Head reported 4 inches of snow while the Central Wasatch saw 0-1 inches. Snow flurries lingered on and off today, but not enough for any accumulation. Snow showers will wane off this evening.

As pictured above snow flurries continuing at Alta (alta.com)

Short-Term Forecast: The low pressure system is moving out of the region and will be replaced with high pressure. Wednesday should be a return back to bluebird skiing with light wind. Temperature high’s for the Wasatch Mountains should be hanging in the low 30’s. Then midday on Thursday our next upper level trough will enter the region.

Snow totals for the upcoming storm courtesy of The University of Utah Atmospheric Science Department

Long-Term Forecast: As you can see above the agreeance on the strength of this storm is very scattered. It’s looking more like a weak to moderate system that could bring up to a foot of snow in favored locations such as the Cottonwoods. Thursday afternoon could feature some soft turns while the day for powder is looking like Friday morning. All we can do is hope this system overperforms and delivers another spring powder day!

-Ben

Sun, Snow, Sun (Repeat?)

TL;DR: Conditions are sunny and pleasant this morning before another storm will set in this afternoon bringing up to about 5 inches of snow through tomorrow.

Nowcast: It’s a beautiful blue morning in the Wasatch following up this weekend’s heavy storm that brought a total of 25” of the good stuff to Little, 20” to Big, and 12” to Park City. This morning, temperatures are in the low twenties in the Central Wasatch while northwest winds will blowing around 10-15 mph today, bringing the wind chill down into the negatives. Starting in the afternoon, another system will blow into Utah affecting the Northern and Central Wasatch, bringing up to an inch of snow before lifts stop turning this evening, and up to 3 inches of snow before midnight tonight.

A stunner of a morning shown from the Albion Basin cam at Alta. Snow showers will replace this morning’s clear skies starting in the afternoon. Courtesy of alta.com

Short-term Forecast: The bulk of the storm system resultant of this trough digging into Utah from the Northwest will persist throughout tonight and tomorrow. This storm will deposit about 3-5 inches of snow in the resorts. The trough will break off from the mean flow sometime Tuesday night to Wednesday and will be replaced by a period of higher pressure and drier conditions on Wednesday. Wednesday will be breezy, mostly sunny, and highs will be in the low thirties.

Long-term Forecast: Another storm is forecasted to start Wednesday evening or Thursday, depending on the model. This system will deposit more snow in the mountains of Southern Utah, but the Central Wasatch are allotted to get snow showers accumulating up to a few inches. More accurate values will be available by tomorrow or Wednesday. There’s chance for more snow showers this weekend, but temperatures will also be warming up over the weekend. The snow will be quite wet and heavier than we usually hope for. Nevertheless, keep the spring storms coming!

24-hour snow accumulation prediction from the GFS. The Central and Northern Wasatch will get a few inches of snow, but the larger snow totals are seen further south. Courtesy of weather.utah.edu

Snow totals: Trace to an inch of snow expected today before resorts close. An accumulation of up to 5” expected through tomorrow at the resorts, and a few inches are forecasted for Thursday. Hope you’re all getting out there to enjoy this beautiful spring weather!

Pauline Kneller