With the partial mix-out of the valley cold pools yesterday, loss of some snow cover, and an exceptionally warm upper-level airmass working into Utah, we have actually managed some pretty warm temperatures in the valley for a January inversion episode. The WBB weather station at the U currently sits at 51 degrees…pretty impressive. Unfortunately, this means that the heat is also on in the mountains. Alta-Collins is at 37 F, and the bases of the PC resorts are in the mid 40s.
As promised, a strong upper-level ridge has been building over the intermountain West, and it will continue to strengthen its grip on us through tomorrow. Today has been very warm, but tomorrow will be pretty exceptional. As Trey mentioned, the 700mb temperature will likely exceed 6 C…this is just about as warm as it can possibly get in the Wasatch in January, As a result, we’ll likely see mid to upper 40s at most resorts, and the south-facing slopes are going to get cooked. Wet-loose avalanches are also going to be running on these aspects. One bright spot to this heat wave is that it is early January, and the sun angle is low enough that the snow on high-elevation north-facing slopes may remain relatively intact if we remain cloud-free and the humidity is low enough.
Thankfully, the ridge starts to flatten after Wedsnesday, bringing a slow cooldown through the weekend. The EC and GFS are also bringing a storm through Utah early next week, but there is some uncertainty as to the quality of the storm. At this point though, a cooldown and fresh snow are more than enough to make me happy.