Over the next 5 days Utah will primarily be on the downstream side of ridge that is going to set up camp over the Pacific coast. This will put us in gererally westerly or northwesterly flow. Current model runs have 3 distinct but weak shortwave troughs rippling along the top of the ridge. Matt L. mentioned two of them yesterday (Friday night, Sunday) and there is currently a third on Monday. I hesitate to even call them storms, but each will bring the possibility of light snow. As is often the case with weak systems the details may change, but it is unlikely that any big dumps are gonna happen in the next several days. Things also look fairly dry beyond Monday. Even the long-range Euro ensemble is producing next to nothing over the next week, so you know its bad.
Ensembles in weather modeling are many different runs of the same model that are each tweaked slightly at the beginning. Looking at how different each of these model runs is from one another helps give an idea of the uncertainty in a particular situation. For instance, the surprise dump on Monday was only picked up by a few of the ensemble members, leaving us forecasters to doubt the likelihood of it happening. But the potential was there, and we just happened to realize it. A good time to be wrong.
For some actual snowfall numbers, I am thinking 3-6 inches for Snowbasin, PowMow and Beaver by Saturday morning. 2-4 inches in the Cottonwoods, and 1-3 elsewhere. The Sunday system might add another inch or two. Too much uncertainty to put number after that, but its mostly dry. Valley inversions shouldn’t be too bad, though.
If you are jonesing for pow think about heading north to Jackson. Whenever we are just getting brush-bys to the north it is not uncommon for Jackson to be piling up the snow. They might be having the best snow year in the United States so far, although snow totals in the Upper Cottonwoods aren’t too far behind. Right now the snowpack in the mid and upper elevations of the Wasatch is pretty close to average for the date.