Hope for a snowy new year

Posted Sunday, December 27th, 2020 by Julie Cunningham

TL;DR: An active pattern! Approaching storm for Monday and Monday night: 4-8″ in the Cottonwoods; 7-11″ at Brian Head and Eagle Point. Another storm on the way for Thursday.

Nowcast: As of early this morning, the Cottonwood resorts each received about 2-3″ of snow, which is great for continuing to build the base. It’s a chillier day today, with temperatures in the teens at mid-mountain and winds around 10 mph. It looks like a beautiful day to be on the mountain — check out this view from Snowbird.

Image courtesy of Snowbird.

Snow has already begun to fall in southern Utah, as seen by the radar clip below. The moisture associated with these snow showers will continue to move north, to bring some snow to the Wasatch tomorrow near mid-day.

Radar located in southwestern Utah (black dot). Graphics courtesy of College of DuPage.

Short-Term: A short-wave ridge over Utah today is followed by an approaching upper-level trough, bringing plentiful moisture to the state. Most of this moisture will preside over southern Utah today before advecting north tomorrow and tomorrow night. This increase in dynamics and moisture will bring some precipitation to southern Utah resorts today and tonight as the moisture plume moves north. Northern Utah resorts can expect precipitation to begin mid-day tomorrow and continue through Monday night for some decent skiing and snowboarding on Tuesday. Some light snow showers may remain Tuesday morning, but it looks like the moist atmospheric profile will exit the region by then. Crest-level winds in the Wasatch will begin out of the east with a closed low to the southwest tomorrow, and as the low center advects to the east, winds will shift to the NNW by Tuesday morning.

For this storm, expect the highest snow totals at the southern resorts, with Eagle Point and Brian Head each receiving roughly 7-11″. Little Cottonwood isn’t far behind, with 4-8″ through Tuesday morning. Park City will receive about 1-5″. Enjoy the snow! It should be a fun day to ski on Tuesday, especially if you’re heading southbound.

Beware of avalanche danger, especially if you’re heading into the backcountry. The Utah Avalanche Center has west-, north-, and east-facing aspects in the Central Wasatch in Moderate avalanche danger, while south-facing aspects are in Considerable avalanche danger.

Long-Term: After this trough exits the region, it will be followed by drier air Tuesday and Wednesday before another deeply-amplified trough enters the region on Thursday. This trough is expected to bring more snow to northern Utah, unlike tomorrow’s storm that more-or-less focuses on the southern mountains. Snow totals are a bit unclear at this point, but stay tuned over the next few days as the forecast develops. Let’s hope we can start this new year off on the right foot (err…ski boot?)!
– Julie

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