Potential Pow Following a Mild Weekend

Posted Thursday, January 30th, 2020 by Julie Cunningham

TL;DR: Clear skies and high temperatures this weekend, followed by a strong cold front overnight Sunday bringing cold temperatures and fresh pow!

Current conditions:

Well, it’s looking like this weekend will be better for yard work and football rather than heading up to the slopes. A strong ridge develops after this passing trough just in time for the weekend, bringing clear skies and above-normal temperatures.

Here in the valley, it looks like the sun is breaking through the clouds after various bouts of mixed precipitation today. The highest 24-hr snow total the local resorts are reporting is 2″, and we won’t get any fresh pow until Sunday night. Northwest flow combined with residual moisture produced some light snow this afternoon on the slopes, but has likely ended at this point. Resort webcams are showing mostly clear skies at higher elevations with some low clouds in the vicinity. Check out the shot below from Snowbird’s Hidden Peak cam; you can definitely see some lower clouds as well as some orographically enhanced clouds at the center of the picture.

Image courtesy of Snowbird

Short-term forecast:

A ridge develops over the next couple days through Sunday morning, making for a pretty boring weekend weather-wise. The NAM time-heights (shown below), a vertical cross-section of the atmosphere with time increasing to the left, indicate some lingering moisture near the surface through early tomorrow morning. A short passage of low-level moisture overnight into Saturday might bring some low-level and mid-level clouds overnight, but are expected to predominately clear by sunrise. Highs in the valley will be in the upper 40s on Saturday, and into the low-mid 50s on Sunday accompanied by southerly flow. Even mountaintop temperatures look to be above freezing on Sunday; you might want to leave some layers at home if you venture up the canyons!

Graphic courtesy of University of Utah

Long-term forecast:

Models are showing a deeply amplified trough and associated cold front moving into the region Sunday night, bringing potentially significant snow accumulation and below-normal temperatures on Monday. Northwest flow and high values of vorticity, or atmospheric spin associated with upward vertical motion, could mean a great powder day! It’s a little too early for numbers, but it’s starting to look like a good day for a sick day. Stay tuned!
– Julie

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