Active Weekend Ahead

Posted Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 by Brittany Whitlam

TL;DR: A few systems are expected to swing through the region later this week. A weak disturbance will give us a nice dusting through Thursday. Confidence is increasing for a stronger system on Friday to bring a good amount of snow to the Wasatch.

Nowcast: Flakes were flying in parts of the Wasatch this morning, with 1” reported at Alta-Collins. Light snow showers are expected to continue through this evening, with accumulations up to 1” possible for the Cottonwoods overnight. 

Flakes were flying at Alta this morning. Courtesy of Alta Ski Area: alta.com/weather

Short term: A weak disturbance pushed through northern Utah today, allowing for some light snow to fall in the upper elevations of the Wasatch. This system has pumped a good amount of Pacific moisture into northern Utah; however, given the weak nature of this system, upper elevation snow accumulations have been light.  Light snow has already become spotty as mid-level ridging has cut off the Pacific moisture flow. Spotty showers are expected to continue throughout the day tomorrow into Thursday.

Long term: This is where things get exciting! Confidence is increasing for a couple of stronger systems to dig into our region on Friday through early next week. The first system is expected to pass through northern Utah early Friday morning, which will bring moist west-southwest flow to our area. Snow showers are expected to begin Thursday night and could possibly continue into Saturday. According to the 15z SREF, over a foot of total snow accumulation is possible with this storm.

SREF snow accumulation for Alta through Friday night. Courtesy of Utah Weather: weather.utah.edu

Uncertainty still exists with the temperatures associated with this system. The GEFS currently suggests that as the trough axis shifts eastward, the arctic cold currently affecting the north-central US could swing to our northeast. If this verifies, it could leave substantially colder temperatures in its wake. The Euro ensemble disagrees, suggesting this arctic cold will continue moving southeast over the Great Lakes.

The 13z NBM is a great example for the uncertainty of temperatures on Saturday at Alta. Courtesy of NOAA’s NBM 1D Viewer: https://hwp-viz.gsd.esrl.noaa.gov/wave1d/

Another trough is expected to dig into the Great Basin region on Sunday morning and bring another chance for a good amount of snow. However, this system is too far out to comment on just yet.

Brittany Whitlam

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