Not a bad refresher

A last gasp of the storm in the wee hours last night boosted the storm total snowfall to 10 inches at Alta and Snowbird.  Brighton and Solitude were just a few inches behind.  The Park City side didn’t get much, with 1-5 inches reported.  I would expect that only at high elevation in the upper Cottonwoods might there beenough snow to stay off the underlying crust.  Anything not high and north facing will likely be crusty tomorrow.

Conditions this weekend look marginal with a trough brushing by to the north.  Some wind, some clouds, no new snow.  The high elevation areas might have a tough time softening up on Saturday.

While I wish I could share Matt L’s optimism on the trough coming in next Tuesday, it looks like it might bring alot more wind and dust than snow. There could indeed be a really nice cold frontal passage, but only a true weather nerd will appreciate that.  My best guess right now is that we would see at most 10 inches, with much less on the Park City side.  A significant caveat with snow amountsis that with temperatures as cold behind the front as current model have them, lake-effect snow is a possibility.  A with lake-effect we often can’t forecast it well 2 hourse before it starts, let alone 6 days.

In other news, only 3 of 10 long-term snow measurement stations in the Wasatch are NOT at a record low snowpack.  Alta looks very likely to set a record for the worst snow season on record there.  Hey, a bad year in Utah is still better than a good year almost anywhere else!

A Return to Winter

The forecast is still on track for a very winter-like storm to impact us Wednesday-Thursday.

Tomorrow will be breezy and mild, with the chance for a shower in the northern Wasatch. Then on Wednesday morning a cold front will roll into the region, and the action really starts. There will likely be a burst of fairly heavy precipitation along and behind the front, starting as rain, and then changing over to snow. Depending on the intensity of the precipitation, snow levels could fall to the Valley floor during the day on Wednesday. Accumulation at the resorts will be rapid during and immediately after the frontal passage, and then we shift to a more showery snowfall with the cold airmass overhead. Snowfall will taper off early Thursday morning as the large-scale ascent moves away from us and the airmass begins to warm/stabilze. Then it looks like another weak wave will clip us late Thursday/early Friday, potentially bringing up to a few more inches, especially for the northern Wasatch.

For accumulations, I’m gonna go with 6-12″ in the upper Cottonwoods, 5-10″ in the northern Wasatch (PowMow/Snowbasin), and 4-8″ for the Park City Resorts.

Long Range: the GFS and EC disagree about the potential for another storm on Sunday, with the EC keeping us dry and the action to the north. I’m more inclined toward the EC solution since it has full support from its ensemble members, but there is certainly a chance that the GFS verifies. We shall see.

Snow on the way

Today (Monday) will be breezy and cooler than the weekend before a quick warm-up Tuesday. SW winds will also increase ahead of the next front making for breezy conditions again on Tuesday. Wednesday into Thursday we will have periods of snow as a cold upper level trough slowly traverses across Utah. Stronger forcing will lead to widespread precipitation initially on Wednesday AM before things taper down. Later on Wednesday we’ll transition into a regime with less forcing but colder mid-upper level temperatures leading to “showery” and more scattered precipitation through Thursday. A secondary weak shortwave trough could also add a couple extra inches, but models have been less consistent with this feature, so confidence is low towards the latter half of the forecast. Overall, I’ll go with 5-10 inches. Hopefully we’ll hit the higher end of that range considering the colder temperatures associated with the storm…sadly I can easily count on one hand the number of 10″ storms we’ve had the last couple months.

Deep Freeze

A cold front will finally move through Northern Utah late tomorrow (Tuesday). Now it won’t actually be a “Deep Freeze” by climatological standards, but for this season it will sure seem like it. We’ll have some of our first “below normal” days in months. Unfortunately, because of the big warmup today and Tuesday ahead of the front, the sudden drop of temperatures (and refreeze) will likely create some pretty terrible ski conditions. And it doesn’t look like there will be enough moisture or lift to produce any substantial snowfall. At “best” we’ll maybe get a little dust on crust action. The skiing should improve in time for the weekend, though, as we warm back up and return to spring skiing conditions.

Mid-Week Cool Off

The warm, dry weather will continue through Tuesday.  The storm that Matt mentioned for Tuesday now looks to see its presence felt on Wednesday morning.  Unfortunately it still looks like we will be lucky to get  a few inches out of it.  A decent cold front will roll through as well on Wednesday morning, bring temperatures near or below average for this time of year.  This pattern doesn’t really please anybody I guess.  If it isn’t gonna snow it might as well be 70 degrees.  

Uncertainty is high with this, but the current GFS run has another weak front coming into Utah on Thursday with a higher likelihood of accumulating snow.  Freezing level would be quite low. Don’t bank on it right now though.  

Short-Lived Snowfall

As promised, the Wasatch got a little coating of snow to freshen things up! The relatively high density of the new snow helped keep skis from hitting the crusty bottom too badly, and from what I hear there were some good turns to be had out there.

I hope you all got to enjoy it, though, because we are going to be shifting right back into our default setting for this winter: warm, dry, and sunny. The warming trend is underway, and highs on Saturday will be in the 50s at most mid-mountain locations. This will be the day to bust out the shorts and t-shirts if you go up. Sunday will be slightly cooler with some clouds around, so Saturday will be the best day to ski.

There is a chance next week that we will get clipped by a few storms passing to our north, but temperatures will remain warm, and I don’t see these producing much in the way of snow. I wouldn’t count on too much more snow to close out the month of March. With that said you may want to ski a fair amount these next few weeks, because unless the pattern changes drastically, the snow may not be sticking around too much longer on the sunnier slopes.

Storm has begun

So far so good on the current storm. By 9:30 Monday morning there have been 3 inches of snow reported in the Cottonwoods with a snow level around 7500′.  Other areas have gotten a trace-2 inches.  Snow will continue for most of the day today before tapering off in the evening.  After a break, another weak trough will push into Northern Utah Tuesday afternoon and evening.  Freezing levels will be between 6000-6500′ for the most part. Including what has fallen so far, it is looking like most areas will see 3-8 inches by Wednesday morning.  High elevations, particularly in the Cottonwoods, will see 6-12″.  

If you want to ski, you might want to make plans for Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.  You better take advantage of it, because it looks like we will be high and dry the rest of the week with May-like temps returning.

A storm, if you can call it that

I went for a run in the foothills this morning, and I took a completely snow-free route that I did in May 2014, when I was dodging snow patches. What is already the warmest winter on record at Salt Lake City continues to become more and more of an outlier…at least we can say we’ve all now witnessed a truly extraordinary weather event, right? I’ll take that as a consolation prize for surviving this ski season.

The weather will be warm and gorgeous again tomorrow (Saturday), with mostly sunny skies and lights winds. Sunday will be slightly cooler, with a few clouds around, so I’m gonna call Saturday the best day to ski. It looks like we’ll get brushed by a “storm” beginning late Monday and lasting into Wednesday, but don’t hold your breath on this one. There is a decent chance that most of the lift and moisture associated with the shortwave troughs will stay to our north, leaving us with nothing but a dusting. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the details as it gets closer. Unless this storm starts to look particularly juicy (which I don’t anticipate), the best skiing in the next 5 days will be Saturday…temps will cool down on Monday and things will be pretty icy.

The long range looks great of you love sun and warmth! Not so much if you still want to be skiing in a month. Confidence is fairly high that beginning late next week we will be very warm once again. I don’t know about you, but I plan to bust out the spring skiing costume fairly soon…if you see a giraffe skiing in the Cottonwoods, come say hi!

Breaking Records

We’re breaking records, on pace to break more, and unfortunately they’re not the kind of records we want to be breaking. I’m talking record highs earlier this week & last weekend. Alta and several other regional observing sites are also on pace for a record low snowfall season. Does this mean that those records will be broken? Not necessarily…it’s still too early to say, but unless things pick up big time this one could go down in the record books.

The forecast for the next week or so continues to look bleak for the Wasatch. The streak of above average temperatures looks to continue through the weekend. Fortunately, though, it looks like we’ll at least “cool” down a bit and maybe get into a good corn cycle. A trough looks to move across the region around Tuesday, but models are consistently showing a “brush by” to the north with not much in the way of precipitation for the Wasatch. The GFS and some Ensembles, however, are showing a much different evolution with the trough (strongly influenced by less predictable, at least the far out, shortwave troughs).The EC and Ensembles show next to nill. I’m not optimistic, but it’s all we got. On the bright side, it’s been nice busting out the shorts in March!

A lovely May weekend

Not much to add to what Trey said yesterday; it’s gonna be downright toasty this weekend, and no doubt the warm weather activities will be calling to all of us. I’m gonna go up and do a little skiing though, and I’ve got a nice little multi-sport weekend put together. I’m thinking skiing for at least a half day, hopefully a little rock climbing outside, and a trail run in the foothills. It’s that time of year!

As for the forecast specifics, Saturday will be even warmer than today, with Sunday even warmer than Saturday. Skies will be bluebird on Saturday, with some high clouds moving through on Sunday. Temperatures will likely top 50 degrees at most mid-moiuntain sites on Sunday, so this would be a great occasion to bust out your spring skiing outfit. USW forecaster Jeff Massey is extremely white and prone to sunburn, so I’m excited to see how bad his goggle burn will be in the office on Monday.

Extremely warm temps will continue into early next week. The models are depicting a weak, elongated area of clouds and precipitation setting up over the Great Basin in the mid-week timeframe. This would cool things down a tad, but it likely wouldn’t produce more than a few showers.