Bursts of Snow

Posted Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by Lucas Bohne

Some of the coldest temperatures of the winter have nestled into the Intermountain West over the last 24 hours as our deep weekend storm exited the region. Fortunately, the cooler temps are here to stay for the next several days, and we are expected to see consecutive bursts of snow through the weekend. Finally, it’s feeling like winter!

The somewhat northerly trajectory of the storm track that we experienced last weekend – bringing fluffy snow and cold temperatures- is still persisting. The next bouts of moisture and instability will take similar tracks to our previous storms as we head into the final weekend of what is known as meteorological winter for the northern hemisphere (December 1 -February 28). We are looking at at least two quick hitting storms through Sunday. I’ll mainly focus on the first one that is looking to move into northern Utah on Thursday afternoon.

Somewhat moist south to southwesterly winds will pop up some clouds throughout the day Thursday, especially over the mountains. Light snow is possible tomorrow, but the main accumulations should start in the late afternoon/evening hours as moisture deepens through advection into the lower levels. This should increase snowfall across the mountains overnight and into Friday morning and even allow for some light snow to make it to valley floors, thanks to the cold airmass enveloping us.

A weak cold front early on Friday morning is looking to pass through, switching our wind directions to more northwesterly and bringing in slightly cooler air, which could allow for some more orographic enhancement for locations favored by NW flow (Cottonwoods). The slightly cooler air could also add to the atmospheric instability and kick up some lake effect on Friday morning. Here is a NAM-12km time height section showing some of these features:

Time height section showing 1) Crest level S/SW flow during the day Thursday, 2) Deepening moisture into the evening hours, 3) Wind shift to NW and low level moisture that may lead to additional accumulations from lake effect
Time height section showing 1) Crest level S/SW flow during the day Thursday, 2) Deepening moisture into the evening hours, 3) Wind shift to NW and low level moisture that may lead to additional accumulations from lake effect or enhancement

Through the end of the day Friday, here’s what I’m thinking for snowfall totals:

Park City Resorts: 3-6″

Northern Wasatch Resorts: 2-5″

Cottonwoods: 5-10″*

*the usual “with locally higher amounts” pertains

So, a nice refresh to the snowpack ahead of the weekend is to be expected. Additionally, you can see on the above time height section that more snow is headed our way for Saturday/Sunday. We have potential for some nice accumulations from that storm too! It’s a good time to wax those skis and boards and prepare for another fun weekend in the Wasatch!

-Lucas

 

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