Snowing Now; Moderate Totals Expected.

Posted Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 by Tanner Visnick

TL; DR Heavy snow is currently falling in LCC and BCC. Expect snow to taper off throughout the morning before picking up again this afternoon. After a break Thursday morning, more snow is expected on Thursday afternoon into Friday.

Good morning USW skiers and riders. First and foremost, I hope everyone is safe from the earthquake this morning. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that we weren’t all commuting. I-80 and KSLC are currently closed. It’s been quite the week.

Back to the weather. Snow is currently falling in the canyons with Alta picking up 5 inches in the last 3 hours. The snowbird snow cam confirms these totals.

Snow cam courtesy of snowbird.com

Snow totals are harder to find in BCC, but based on this webcam shot at Solitude I’m guessing they have similar totals.

Webcam courtesy of opensnow.com

Short term: Our low pressure center is now just south of San Diego and is currently streaming in moisture from the SSW in narrow bands of precipitation.

GFS 12Z model run courtesy of tropicaltidbits.com
Integrated Vapor Transport courtesy of Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes.

Despite most of the moisture being directed to our southeast, we are still getting lots of moisture here in Utah. As this lows moves east, we will move in and out of different bands of precipitation. Therefore, over the next 48 hours, we will have period of heavy precipitation followed by periods of clouds and sun. Fortunately, this first wave has outperformed the models so there is reason to be optimistic. LCC, which doesn’t normally do well with SSW flow, is keeping up with BCC.

The NAEFS plumes have converged since Julie’s forecast yesterday. Below are the 12z (4 am MST) runs on Monday and Tuesday for Alta-Collins. Initially, the American members were really bullish on this storm and the Canadian members were much more conservative. But yesterday’s run shows all members converging around the mean with much less spread. Notice that the mean is roughly the same for both runs.

NAEFS Plumes for Alta-Collins 12Z March 16th, courtesy of University of Utah
NAEFS Plumes for Alta-Collins 12Z March 17th, courtesy of University of Utah

The NAEFS plumes show a quick 3-5 inches of snow falling between 3-5 pm this evening. On the other hand, the SREF plumes (shown below) show maybe an additional inch of snow. I would expect 2-4 inches of snow in the cottonwoods today before things clear up overnight.

SREF Plumes for Alta-Collins 9Z March 18th, courtesy of University of Utah

An additional wave of snow is expected tomorrow afternoon through Friday morning. Expect another 3-5 inches during this wave.

Long Range: some light snow this weekend maybe amounting to an inch or two, then the pattern gets active through the end of the month. After a boring March so far, strong storms appear on the horizon. So get out and tour now to be ready for the stormy weather ahead (but be sure to check the Utah Avalanche Center for the current conditions).

ECMWF Weeklies 500 mb height anomaly for 00Z March 26th, courtesy of Weather Bell

Thanks for reading!

Tanner Visnick

@telellama

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