Before I get to the upcoming Atmospheric River set to blast the Wasatch starting later this weekend, I’ll hit the short term real quick.
With cold temps and a quick-hitting shortwave scooting through Utah this (Friday) evening, I’m expecting a burst of nice low-density snow in the mountains. I’ll go 3-6″ for the upper Cottonwoods, 2-4″ for the PC resorts, and 3-5″ elsewhere.
Now for the good stuff! Nature’s firehose will be cranking up beginning late Saturday night, with precip rates and wind speeds increasing into Sunday morning, and the storm ending late Monday night. There will not be a ton of large-scale lift provided by the atmosphere but the sheer amount of water being transported in the nuking upper level winds, and then being forced to rise over the Wasatch, will provide all the ingredients to drop some serious precipitation. This is an Atmospheric River. So what will the conditions be like on the ground?
-Snow levels will be high: getting as high as 8,000ft on Sunday. The bases of many resorts will get rain.
-Winds will be howling Sunday morning through Monday morning
-Snow will be of the Sierra Cement variety. I wouldn’t be surprised to see periods of 5:1 snow-water ratios
-Avalanche conditions will be quite dangerous in the backcountry
As for snowfall totals, I’m going to stick with exactly what Trey went for yesterday. Near the snow line, these totals won’t be valid of course, but I anticipate these amounts at mid-mountain and above. Trey went for 18-36″ in the upper Cottonwoods and northern Wasatch, with 10-20″ on the PC side (above the snow line). Most important in these kinds of storms though is the amount of liquid equivalent in the snow that will fall…important for covering up rocks for skiers, and for storing water in our snowpack for lakes and rivers. I’m anticipating 3-5″ of liquid in the upper Cottonwoods and Logan area mountains…that’s a lot of water from one storm.
So it’s gonna be a wet, warm, and windy storm…and one we definitely need. As Trey said, get out there and surf that beautiful new snow!
Long Term also still looks good for a nice cold storm Christmas Day by the way. Santa put Utah on the nice list!!!