Keep it coming!

Posted Tuesday, December 28th, 2021 by Brittany Whitlam

TL;DR: Snow will continue through the end of the year as a mean longwave trough parked over the western US ejects a few more systems into our region. A ridge will build in on the first day of the new year and bring a short stretch of dry conditions. Because we can’t get too greedy, can we?

Sun peeking through the snow at Alta this afternoon. Courtesy of Alta Ski Area:

Nowcast: It was a cold and blustery one out there today! Following the passage of a high amplitude shortwave trough, temps from slightly above zero at upper elevations to low teens at resort bases were recorded today. Peak wind gusts of 20-25 mph along high ridgelines and 5-10 mph at resort bases were also observed. All resorts across the state received additional snow overnight. Brighton added an additional 7” to its snowpack since lifts stopped spinning yesterday, while Alta received 6” and Park City received 2”.

Regarding climatology, we are now comfortably above average for this time of year. Below is the snow/water equivalent at the Snowbird SNOTEL site. It shows that prior to our last storm, we were stagnant right around average. Thanks to our last storm, this site has racked up an additional 4.5″ of water.

SWE from Snowbird SNOTEL site. Courtesy of the NRCS:

Short term: Orographic showers that are currently lingering over the Wasatch will begin to wrap up overnight as post-frontal subsidence builds. West-southwest flow will set up throughout the day tomorrow as another shortwave trough travels down the California coast. Pressure gradients will strengthen over the day tomorrow and allow gusty winds to develop overnight, continuing through Thursday. Snow showers are expected to develop on Wednesday night and continue through Thursday as this flow favors the mountains.

Forecast loop of 500mb height anomaly over the next 36 hours from the GEFS. Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits:

Long term: The mean longwave trough will begin to dive into our region on Thursday. The synoptic forcing from this deepening trough combined with high amounts of moisture still lingering from the last storm will allow widespread showers to develop over the whole state on Thursday night. These snow showers are expected to continue through Friday as the trough continues to deepen. Terrain enhancement will lead to times of moderate-to-heavy snow in the mountains on Friday.

Snow totals: Trace to an inch of snow is expected overnight as orographic showers may linger. Expect 1-4 inches of snow overnight on Wednesday for the central Wasatch. The forecasted storm totals for the Wednesday-Friday storm will be updated tomorrow.

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