Free Refills on the Menu Today

Posted Monday, December 27th, 2021 by Pauline Kneller

TL;DR: After a somewhat mild night last night, a winter storm warning is in effect today, with increasing winds, a healthy helping of snow (10-18 inches today), and a cold front bringing in very chilly conditions.

Strong LWIR signal today showing an active storm system with high cloud tops moving in from the southwest. Courtesy of weather.cod.edu 

Nowcast: The storm quieted down a little bit last night only leaving a small addition to the snow totals of this current storm. However, we will see this system pick up a little more today as the axis of the trough along with a strong cold front will advect into our region today. Temperatures will be dropping where high temperatures on the ridges will be 5-10F and the bases of the resorts in the Central Wasatch will be in the 10-20 degree range (Cottonwoods will be on the colder end of the spectrum, while the Wasatch Back will see the higher temperatures). A winter storm warning is in effect today and snowfall will be moderate-heavy throughout the day. Expect blustery conditions on the mountains today, especially on the ridges, with gusts of up to 49 mph recorded on Mt. Baldy this morning. Winds will be calmer in the canyons and along the Wasatch Back, with wind speeds in the 5-10 mph, but gusts coming in at the 20 mph range. 

Lowlight lenses and extra warm layers recommended for today and tomorrow!!

Beautiful stormy conditions (and very poor visibility) at Alta today. Courtesy of Alta Ski Resort at www.alta.com/weather#mountain-cams 

Short-term: The passage of the upper level trough over the region today will lead into more zonal flow tonight and tomorrow before a shortwave trough will amplify through the area tomorrow night into Wednesday. The passage of the trough today will bring heavy snowfall that will slow down tonight and tomorrow. While we are between troughs, the strong winds of today will slow down tonight and tomorrow before picking back up tomorrow night with the incoming and amplifying shortwave trough. A cold front is moving into the area today through tomorrow, bringing in low temperatures (the GFS is showing a low of -20F at 700 mb tomorrow morning, where currently 700 mb temps are around -12F). Resorts will be around 5-7 degrees cooler tomorrow than they are today.

Good visualization of the cold front transporting cold air across the state. Model and image courtesy of atmos.washington.edu

Mid-range: As the shortwave trough amplifies Tuesday night, light snow will continue throughout the week. The cold front will move out of the area so the temperature highs on Wednesday will be 8-10 degrees warmer than Tuesday, and temperatures will be greater on Thursday. While the flow will become more zonal again throughout the week, a shortwave trough over the Northwest will start to amplify and pass over Utah starting Thursday night. This amplification will be accompanied by more snowfall, hopefully bringing another powder day at the end of the week. Note that the warming occurring throughout this week as snow keeps falling will cause the snow to increase in density, creating an upside down accumulation of snow. This is a recipe for increasing avalanche danger, so as always, head over to utahavalanchecenter.org for all your backcountry avalanche information. 

Snow totals: Last night added about another 1-2” to the snowfall totals of this storm in the Central Wasatch. Snow accumulation today could be as high as 10-15”. Light snowfall will continue throughout the week adding a couple inches throughout the week, while a big storm Thursday night will bring higher amounts of snow. 

Happy powder day, everyone!

-Pauline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *