A Relatively Quiet Week Ahead

Posted Sunday, December 16th, 2018 by Taylor McCorkle

Overview: A quick, but weakening, storm system will move across the area tomorrow, with a few inches of mountain snow possible.  The rest of the week will be dominated by a strong ridge and poor air quality.

Today: High pressure was prevalent as sunny skies allowed high temperatures to near 50 in the valley.  While skies were sunny, a blanket of haze settled in the lower levels of the atmosphere.  The inversion in the valley began to trap pollutants in the valley, with PM 2.5 concentrations reaching unhealthy levels of over 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

PM 2.5 measurements at Neil Armstrong Academy via http://meso2.chpc.utah.edu/gslso3s/
PM 2.5 measurements at Neil Armstrong Academy via http://meso2.chpc.utah.edu/gslso3s/

Monday – Monday Night:
A splitting trough will make its way into the state on Monday.  Much of the day will be spent with overcast skies, with the possibility of some scattered showers.  The trough is relatively weak without much associated moisture.  Despite some showers, the weak flow will likely not be enough to completely rid the valley of pollutants that have built up.  Additionally, the trough isn’t very cold, so the precipitation will be liquid in the valley and frozen in the high elevations of the Wasatch.
The weak dynamics of the trough and limited moisture will likely only result in a few inches of Wasatch snowfall.  Through the end of Monday, 2-6 inches of new snow is possible in the high elevations o the Wasatch mountain range.

18Z GFS forecasts in the Upper Cottonwoods
18Z GFS forecasts in the Upper Cottonwoods

Tuesday and Beyond:
A high pressure system moves in and creates worsening air quality across the Salt Lake valley.  This pattern appears to persist through the end of the week, with the next chance of unsettled weather beginning next weekend. As time progresses, models will begin to get a better handle on the timing and possibility of our next storm.


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