Jeff and I went for a tour along the Park City ridgeline today, and it felt like a March day. The south aspects were getting slushy (even up high), and it was very much a short-sleeve affair while climbing. Despite the toasty temps though, it is December and the sun angle is very low, so the high elevation slopes facing more toward the north still had great snow! Surprisingly great snow. This warm spell (December heat wave?) will persist for a few more days unfortunately. In fact, tomorrow through Thursday will be even warmer than today. Thursday will likely be the toastiest day this week…getting about as warm as it can get in December. Skies will definitely be bluebird on Monday, and for Tues-Thurs, there should be a reasonable amount of sun, although some weak disturbances passing to our north may bring some periods of clouds. Now for the good stuff..relief from our snow drought is in sight!
I think we’ve gotten to the point (as far as model predictability goes) where I can say with reasonable certainty that we will be getting a storm late week/this coming weekend. The devil is in the details though, and here is what remains uncertain where we stand now, 5-6 days out:
-Timing: the ECMWF has the show starting much later and ending earlier than the GFS. This affects snowfall totals greatly; you need a long duration storm for lots of snow.
-Where the best large-scale rising motion will be: if it doesn’t set up over Utah, we won’t get very much snow.
-Which direction the upper-level winds will be coming from: the preferred corridor for moisture transport into Utah is through NorCal/S. Oregon…I’m a bit worried with our moisture tap coming from the southwest. The model solutions will shift around in the coming days, and if things move north (over the High Sierra Nevada), we could miss out on the Grade A pacific moisture.
-Temperatures: right now the temperature trend during the storm looks great (starting warm, ending cold), but the model soutions will shift around as I mentioned, so we’ll keep an eye on this.
So all we can say is that a storm is very likely; we’ll let you know as soon as the details and strength of this storm come into focus.