Nothing to see here…

Posted Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 by usw_admin

… it’s biking and golfing season, right? No point in skiing, no good snow to be found, stay in the valley, it’s April!

Wait, it’s April. In Utah. April has a history of delivering big snow here! Did you know SLC has even seen measurable accumulations in June?

The long and short of it: A deep, powerful, and progressive trough is progressing through today through Thursday with another shortwave poised to roll through behind it before weak ridging starts to return by the weekend. Ample synoptic-scale dynamics accompany this system, hence the significant valley rainfall we’ve been seeing today and the very steady and widespread nature of the precipitation. In addition, this trough is COLD! Like -10°C at 700 mb cold! Once the mid-level cold front pushes through this evening expect snow levels to finally drop to the valley floor. Moist northwest flow at mid-levels will boost the totals in the usual favored areas, though the low setting up to the east of the region will complicate things a little bit with the low-level flow. A lot to consider today, what an event! Rapid intensification continues as the system moves off to our east, sure to give the plains a spring storm to remember.

GFS 700 mb heights and temperatures for Tuesday afternoon, a strong mid-level front as evident in the temperature gradient is pushing through the region
GFS 700 mb heights and temperatures for Tuesday afternoon. A strong mid-level front as evident in the temperature gradient is pushing through the region.

The icing on the cake? Ok, this time it’s actually warranted to say this: Lake Effect (Lake enhancement, really)! With the shallow lake primed and warm from the past week, and a still-moist cold airmass moving in over top, the environment will be ripe with instability and the lower levels will be near saturated. Narrow zones of the Salt Lake and Tooele valleys could see some snowfall totals that exceed the regional forecast if this happens to be the case. The impact on the Cottonwoods, however, will be marginal at best.

NAM 12 Lake-effect guidance
NAM 12 Lake-effect guidance

Not much change from Taylor’s numbers here, sticking with 18-24″ in the Upper Cottonwoods. For those of you still touring from lower elevations on the Park City side, expect 6-8″ of snow down low, increasing with elevation to 18-22″ along the Wasatch Crest.

SREF Plume for Brighton/Wasatch Crest
SREF Plume for Brighton/Wasatch Crest
SREF Plume for Park City base
SREF Plume for Park City base

With all the rain-on-snow and new snow on sun-crusted slopes please be avy-aware! Check the UAC forecast, and remember: if you don’t know, don’t go!

-Mike

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