In Like a Lion

Posted Friday, March 2nd, 2018 by Lucas Bohne

TGIF! Winds are whipping across much of the state today ahead of a storm that could potentially be the largest snowmaker of the season so far. A cold front is strengthening across the Great Salt Lake as we speak, and will be entering the Salt Lake Valley this afternoon. As Marcel mentioned yesterday, this weekend will feature a one-two punch of snowfall, the first being this afternoon/evening, and the second starting midday Saturday. While I don’t think it will necessarily stop snowing in the mountains between the two major storm components, the second one is definitely stronger.

Current surface conditions show the southerly prefrontal winds over the Salt Lake Valley with a surface cold front over the lake which is headed in our direction. Here’s what it looks like on Mesowest. Note the wind shift around Antelope Island and colder temperatures to the northwest.

1:30 PM surface conditions from Mesowest
1:30 PM surface conditions from Mesowest

And here what the strengthening front looks like from above – note the clouds moving SE across the lake.

Past 12 frames of COD GOES-16 imagery  as of 1:30 PM (http://weather.cod.edu/satrad/exper/?parms=local-Salt_Lake-truecolor-48-0-100-1&checked=map)
Past 12 frames of COD GOES-16 imagery as of 1:30 PM (http://weather.cod.edu/satrad/exper/?parms=local-Salt_Lake-truecolor-48-0-100-1&checked=map)

This afternoon will be exciting in terms of the frontal passage and the start of snow for the weekend, but snowfall by Saturday morning will be small compared to what is to come Saturday evening and overnight into Sunday. I won’t be super detailed, but Saturday afternoon is when the main portion of the low pressure system moves across the area and really pumps up snowfall rates! Here’s what you can expect as you head to the mountains on Saturday morning as well as the projected snow amounts for the entire weekend. You might want to dig out your snorkel for the Cottonwoods on Sunday.

Forecast snow totals through Saturday morning:

  • Cottonwoods: 4-8″
  • Northern Wasatch Mtns: 6-12″
  • Park City Resorts: 3-6″

Forecast storm snow totals through Sunday evening:

  • Cottonwoods: 20-30″
  • Northern Wasatch Mtns: 18-24″
  • Park City Resorts: 10-20″

As always, locally higher amounts are possible. What a treat for our first weekend in March. So as the saying goes, March will be “in like a lion”,  but I’m hoping it isn’t “out like a lamb” and that we get some more great storms this month! Have a great weekend!

-Lucas

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