The Greatest Wind on Earth

TL:DR; Last night was extremely windy and any accumulation from yesterday has been heavily blown around, lower temps have led to hard snow conditions. Some small amounts of snow could fall throughout the weekend.

Nowcast: Yesterday at noon, Solitude recorded a base temp high of 43F which created some wet snow. Temperatures have thankfully dropped into the teens overnight with mountain temps rising to mid/upper 20s throughout the day. The snowpack has locked up making for some hard conditions. The winds from yesterday prevailed, as strong northwesterly wind gusts surpassed 100 mph along the upper ridgelines overnight.

Hidden Peak – 11,000′ (

As seen in the wind chart above, it is still very windy out there. Lower elevation (9500′) winds are around 15-25 mph gusts up to 45 mph. Any slight snow/graupel accumulations from yesterday afternoon have been transported elsewhere, with protected pockets containing remnants. Good news is that air quality conditions in the valley have significantly improved.

Short-Term Forecast: A high pressure system will build over Utah on friday and is expected to add to the valley inversion and bring more moderate temperatures. A small amount of moisture will make its way into Northern Utah Friday night/Saturday morning, unfortunately minimal snow accumulations are expected. Below is the accumulated snow forecast, showing trace amounts of snow beginning Saturday morning.

SREF Forecast (

Once again, think positively as this storm will likely help improve air quality in the valley.

Long-Term Forecast: A weak trough is expected to pass over Northern Utah Sunday night, potentially bringing a small amount of precipitation. This will be followed by a continental airmass (continental = dry) on Monday making its way from the north and leading to cooler temps.


A Weak Week

TL;DR: A weak system is expected to impact the area today with no major accumulations, and high winds. A ridge will build into the weekend, but a pattern shift will follow next week.

Nowcast: The valley inversion has weakened overnight due to high clouds warming the inverted layer. This has cleared some of the pollution in the valley air, but moderate air persists this morning. High stratus clouds are over the ski resorts, and are expected to hang around. Gusty conditions in the mountains are expected this afternoon. Alta could have gusts as high as 50 mph. Below is a current look of Superior:

Notice the valley is somewhat clear and skies are overcast with small patches of blue sky.

Short-Term Forecast: A brief passing trough is expected to have little impact to Utah as it stays to our north. Central Idaho and Jackson Hole are getting the bulk of this storm. There are high precipitable water values in the atmosphere today, but this current trough is not expected to bring any major precipitation to the ski resorts. Alta could get 2 inches at most, but some precipitation could fall as rain. Expect dust on crust and hope for the best. Here is a look at the GFS 500mb Geopotential Height Anomaly for later today:

You can see that the Wasatch is barely missed, and the ridge continues to build to our west.

Long-Range Forecast: As we look forward, we have good news for our air quality. The ridge will build into the weekend, but there will be small frequent trough passages to mix out the valley inversion. The bad news is that these troughs do not look to bring major accumulations. There is also a pattern shift that will hopefully move the ridge to our west. This could bring cold temperatures and more snow late next week. Something to keep an eye on as we approach the beginning of next week.

Jackson Sponaugle

Weak Storms

TL;DR: Weak storms continue with a possible pattern change the second part of next week.

Nowcast: Inversions continue in Northern Utah with the mountains relatively warm for this time of the year. A weak storm tomorrow brings a chance for light snow to the Wasatch.

Short-Term Forecast: In the short term, conditions continue to be unfavorable for meaningful precipitation/snow. A weak wave move through the flow Wednesday with maybe an inch or 2 in the mountains. The NAM 3km model seen below is a little more optimistic with higher precipitation amounts.

Long-Range Forecast: After Wednesday, a few more weak storms are possible during the weekend with little accumulation. Looking ahead, it looks like a pattern change maybe coming in the second part of next week with a longwave trough digging down into the Western US. The question is will it just be cold or will we have moisture to work with? Stay tuned!


I Hope You Like Bluebird Days

TL;DR: Very light accumulation in Southern Utah overnight with high pressure taking control for some time to come.

Nowcast: Brian Head received 2 inches overnight and Eagle Point reported 1 inch of snow from the weak wave of energy that passed through Southern Utah. With very little snow expected in the Wasatch mountains as of yesterday the storm went further south than expected leaving the Wasatch with nothing to report. In Northern Utah the mountain temperatures should be in the mid to high 20’s with mostly clear skies and light wind (<10 mph) out of the northwest.


Short-Term Forecast: The next 24-48 hours we will see the weak wave of low pressure exit the region and high pressure will begin to solidify itself over Utah. Temperatures will begin to slowly increase while the nighttime lows will be in the single digits for the Wasatch Mountains. Mostly clear skies with wind less than 5 mph will be the story which will make for great days ripping groomers and enjoying some sun.

3 day ensemble forecast with an alarming amount of red (

Long-Range Forecast: High Pressure will dominant Utah through most of the week. The next chance for storm energy to possibly brush Utah won’t come until the 16/17th, but even that isn’t looking very likely. The air quality in the valley with get dramatically worse as the week moves on, so get on up to the mountains and enjoy the nice weather (depending on how you look at it) and do your snow dances!


Enjoy it While You Can

TL:DR; Modest snow accumulations overnight and into Saturday morning. A high pressure system will move in afterwards making for dry conditions and a lengthy inversion.

Nowcast: Currently there are some thin high level clouds over the Wasatch. More clouds will develop throughout the day as a slight low pressure system moves over Utah throughout today/tonight. Canyon temps are in the upper teens and will rise to the high 20’s/low 30’s with light winds (<10 mph) from the west. Here’s a pic of Albion Basin this morning:

Short-Term Forecast: With the low pressure system moving in, there will be modest snow accumulations starting late this evening and continuing into Saturday morning. The GFS shows the system primarily trending towards Central Utah where the largest precip amounts are expected. Total snow amounts for the central wasatch will range from 2-4″ with a SLR between 10-15. It is uncertain whether there will be any snowfall in the Valley. Winds are expected to increase slightly but remain gentle around 10 mph overnight with gusts reaching up to 30 mph on the upper ridgelines.

GFS 6-Hour Avg. Precip Rate valid 5am MST Saturday 1/9 (

Long-Term Forecast: Enjoy the small amount of snow while it’s here, as a ridge will be moving in after Saturday and looks stubborn enough to stick around. Each ensemble model suggests this high pressure will remain in place over Utah for much of next week. In addition, warming aloft will create ideal inversion conditions in the valley.

5-day ensemble forecast…that’s a lot of red (

Air quality is expected to become very poor next week as the inversion contains pollution within the valley. Please be concious of your emissions during this time.


Brief Storm

TLDR: Today, a brief ridge passes while skies become mostly sunny and bring seasonal temperatures. The next storm system will bring minor accumulations to most of Utah’s ski areas early Saturday morning.

Nowcast: Clouds increase this morning over high terrain, but should start to clear to mostly sunny skies. Ski areas are in the low 20’s today with light winds. It should be relatively calm today and not too busy this morning. Here is a current view in Alta.

Short-Term Forecast: Clouds will steadily increase overnight into Friday night as an approaching trough moves inland. This trough coming from the northwest favors the cottonwoods, so we should see the largest accumulations near Alta.


This model run for Alta shows most members between 1-4 inches, but trending slightly higher run to run. 7 inches is not out of the question, but it is unlikely. Let’s hope for at least 3-6 inches with this storm in Alta. Park city and following resorts should expect 1-3 inches.

Long-Range Forecast: Sadly, a ridge looks like it will build into the region starting Sunday into mid next week. Here is a look of the current model run for Tuesday.

This is bad news for our snow pack and for our air quality. The ridge will be something to keep an eye on in the coming days. Some models have another storm next week, while others have a continued ridge. Let’s hope we can jump back into the active pattern late next week.

Jackson Sponaugle

Weekend Refresh

TL;DR: No real powder prospects in Utah until Saturday, when a small storm will bring back chances for modest snow accumulations. The forecast isn’t promising thereafter.

Nowcast: Today was a beautiful one in the mountains. Blue skies and relatively warm temperatures graced the slopes across the state. I found wonderful smooth skiing on Monday, and presume riding has only improved since then with Tuesday’s new snow.

Short Term Forecast: A weak storm will brush the northern extreme of the Wasatch on Thursday, but won’t bring anything more than a few clouds and stronger winds tonight into tomorrow. Other than that, generally pleasant weather until Friday evening.

Longer Range: By Friday, a trough will approach the American and Canadian Pacific coasts:

This weekend’s trough evident in blue shading and cyclonically curved height lines over the Pac. NW & Canadian Coast.
Courtesy of Pivotal Weather

By midnight Friday our trough will have split, the southern piece heading straight overhead:

Courtesy of Pivotal Weather

The arrival of this feature should mean a period of snow beginning sometime late Friday (probably after lifts stop spinning for the day) and lasting into Saturday. For now, expect 3-6″ of snow, but keep an eye on the forecast over the next few days – should things fall into place, Saturday could be surprisingly fun.

After our weekend storm, guidance suggests a break from snow is likely until sometime around mid-month.


Another round, please!

TL;DR: High Avalanche Danger for portions of the Wasatch and north. 5-9 inches reported at resorts in the Wasatch as of 6am; likely more by now. Next decent chance for snow overnight Friday into Saturday.

Nowcast: After receiving pretty minimal amounts of snow over the past week or so, the resorts in the Wasatch are reporting some better numbers! As of roughly 6am this morning, Alta reported 9 inches and Snowbird reported 8 inches for a storm total. Big Cottonwood resorts performed about the same, with 8 inches at Brighton and 6 inches at Solitude. Park City and Deer Valley did okay, too, with 5 inches and 7 inches, respectively. While these aren’t quite the pow days that we’ve been waiting for, I think at this point we need to take what we can get.

So far this water year (beginning October 1st), the precipitation total at the airport here in Salt Lake City is at roughly 3 inches below normal. You can see in the graphic below that the snow total is also well below average.

Graphic courtesy of NWS Salt Lake City.

Current snow depth at Alta-Collins is at 47 inches, compared to… 80 inches at this time last year. Yikes. At least we’re slowly inching closer to a better base.

Despite a dry winter thus far, there’s still plenty of worry for avalanche danger, considering we do still have tens of inches of snowpack. An Avalanche Warning was issued by the Utah Avalanche Center for the northern Utah mountains through 6am tomorrow morning. There is High Avalanche Danger in the Central Wasatch on upper elevation slopes facing west through north through east; if you’re itching to get out into the backcountry, please check out the Utah Avalanche Center website for additional information, and be safe!

As for other current meteorological conditions, it is quite gusty at higher elevations, with Hidden Peak reporting a peak gust of 85 mph from the WNW at 11am. The sky has cleared a lot since this morning, with clouds still lingering at mountaintop. Check out this beautiful afternoon view from Hidden Peak at Snowbird, featuring a couple of Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds (wave-like, in the center of the photo).

Image courtesy of Snowbird.

Short-Term: As the trough that brought us snow overnight shifts east, a highly-amplified ridge will build into the region. After that, there’s a chance of snow for northern Utah on Thursday night as a weak short-wave trough brushes by the Utah-Idaho-Wyoming borders. At this time, it looks like there are some dynamics, northwesterly flow, and a very shallow moist layer. However, it won’t quite be enough to get things going in the Central Wasatch. Far northern Utah will have a bit more moisture, but I don’t expect resorts further north to get more than an inch or two.

The GFS is showing another trough moving into Utah overnight on Friday, but it seems a bit too early to start tossing out snow totals. Hopefully the snow gods bring us some luck!

Long-Term: After some potential for snow this weekend, it looks to be pretty dry for awhile, unfortunately. Each of the models are indicating a strong ridge building in, that doesn’t seem to break until at least next Friday.

Enjoy the snow this week!
– Julie

Snow for Tomorrow

Nowcast: Right now, temperatures in the Cottonwood Canyons are in the low thirties, looking at a high for the day of 31F at the top of the canyons. Skies are still partly sunny. It’s quite breezy up there as the southwesterly winds are blowing around 10-15 mph. This afternoon, a storm system will be rolling in bringing higher winds and snow.

Alta at around 1:30. Mostly clear morning, but the clouds will start rolling in soon! Courtesy of Alta Ski Reosrt.

Short-term forecast: Snowfall will begin this afternoon/evening and continue through tomorrow late morning/early afternoon. Higher winds will start this evening and last through tomorrow evening, blowing at speeds of 15-20 mph. Tuesday’s temperatures should be in the lower twenties in the Cottonwoods and mid to higher twenties in Park City, but temperatures will drop throughout the day to around 14F in Little Cottonwood. The snow will clear up tomorrow evening, while winds will calm down in the evening to around 5-8 mph. Wednesday is looking like it will be clear and mostly sunny with no expected snow as we experience some ridging with higher pressures through the near future. Temperatures will again be around mid-twenties and mild west-southwest wind should be expected.

GFS model showing accumulated precipitation. Expected SLR is 15:1-20:1 for some lighter weight snow tomorrow. Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

Long-term forecast: As high pressure system will be presiding over the valley yet again that should last the next couple of days. Snow could be expected on Friday evening/Saturday morning as a small low pressure system is seen on the GFS and the NAM, and the GFS is looking promising with some more reasonable precipitation totals.

Snow totals: No new snow today as of yet, as skies have been mostly clear. This evening and through the night, should bring about 4-6 inches of new snow and up to a total of 6-8 inches for the snowstorm total. Even if it’s not the massive pow day we’re all hoping for, our snow base is still looking rather wimpy so we could use any bit of snow we can get!

NAM Snowfall total for tonight/tomorrow’s storm. Showing up to 8 inches of snow for the Central Wasatch, and up to 12-16 inches a little further north!
Courtesy of Utah Weather Center.

Pauline Kneller

More snow on the way

TL;DR: Another storm will bring more snow for the Wasatch tomorrow night into Tuesday morning. Beyond that, conditions are not looking great for any major storms to bring us the snow we desperately need. 

Nowcast: Flakes are flying in Wasatch this morning as a storm system associated with a shortwave trough located to our north passes through. Accumulations have been light, totaling around an inch so far for resorts in the Cottonwoods. Winds are gusting to 20-30 mph at the mountain crests with temperatures in the upper teens. 

Flakes are flying at Alta this morning. Courtesy of Alta Ski Area:

Short Term:  Light snow will continue in the upper elevations through this evening. Ridging will briefly fill in tonight, cutting off moisture this evening into tomorrow morning. A stronger, more potent shortwave will dig through northern Utah tomorrow night.

Trough axis will pass through early Tuesday morning. This will be a fast moving storm, so snow is expected to taper off around noon. Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits:

This system will kick off snow showers late Monday night and will continue through Tuesday morning. Around 3-8 inches are expected for most locations in the Wasatch with this storm. 

NAEFS 6-hourly snow probability for Alta-Collins. Courtesy of Utah Weather:

Long Term: Ridging will build in again behind Tuesday’s storm, keeping conditions dry through midweek.  Another shortwave is expected to pass through northern Utah on Thursday, but chances for notable precipitation remain low at this time. Overall, conditions are not looking conducive for any major storms through mid-January. However, we’re still a long way out from there, so keep your hopes high. We’re in this together!

Brittany Whitlam