Big Snow Totals!

Posted Thursday, February 18th, 2021 by Pauline Kneller

TL;DR: Today provides an end to this big storm cycle. The storm brought a total of 63” of snow to Alta, about 1-2 inches over night. Today will be cold, high of 15F in the Cottonwoods, 25F in Park City, with breeze of 5-10 mph bringing the windchill down into the negatives.

Note as of 6:45 this morning, police were turning people away from Little Cottonwood stating the canyon would not open today.

Nowcast: Folks, the big storm system has finally come to an end. We finally saw some snow typical of Utah winters. The storm total at Alta was 63”, with about 55” coming since Monday night, meaning there’s that much new snow to ski today, if UDOT is able to open Little Cottonwood (follow UDOT Cottonwoods on Twitter for live updates). There will be a small break from snowfall today and the skies will be partly cloudy throughout the day, but snowfall will resume tonight. Today’s riding conditions will be cooler than they have been the past few days, with a high of 17F, but it’s about 3F this morning at Alta Collins. The Park City resorts will be warmer, with a high of 24F. The cold temperatures will be supplemented by some breeziness, around 10 mph in the Cottonwoods and 5 mph in Park City, making the cold dry air feel even colder. Bundle up and enjoy some powder!

Snowbird’s SnowCam showing 20 inches snowfall starting Monday, and reporting 48” in the last 48 hours. snowbird.

Short-term forecast: Around midnight tonight there’s chance of snowfall again as the temporary high pressure system that set in this morning will be replaced by some moisture blowing in from the west and a new low-pressure system centering in Colorado. This will be followed up by a larger system of moisture coming in from the west northwest, hitting Northern Utah early Friday morning. There’s high chance of precipitation throughout the day on Friday, snow accumulation should be around 3-7 inches. This snow is going to be a little more dense than what we have been seeing as temperatures are going to be higher than they have been, in the mid-twenties to low thirties.

GFS showing the relative humidity from 800-500 mb, showing moisture coming in from the north, northwest early Friday morning. weather.utah.

Mid-range forecast: Saturday should bring a slightly larger storm through as more moisture is coming in from the west, northwest off the coast of Oregon and through Idaho. Chance for slight snow on Sunday and conditions will dry out and warm up starting Monday.

Precipitation totals: From this large storm system, snow totals are as follows: Park City has 20-30 inches, about 1.1 inches water, Solitude and Brighton were between 33 and 40 inches, and Alta received a healthy 63 inches of new snow. New snow accumulation tomorrow around 3-6 inches, and another 6-12 inches on Saturday.

Snow and water total showing around 20 inches of from tomorrow to early Sunday morning. Most of the accumulation happens Friday night into Saturday morning.

A special shoutout to Utah Avalanche Center and UDOT, especially UDOT Cottonwoods, for keeping us all during this large snow event. UDOT Cottonwoods has had a busy start to the week with heavy avalanche control, road clearing, and PR with antsy skiers, so give your local organizations some love. Happy and safe riding, y’all!

UDOT Cottonwoods tweeted this yesterday after some of their crew got caught in an avalanche in LCC. We are all very thankful for the work they eo!


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