Some is Better than None

Posted Saturday, December 26th, 2020 by Nathan Tarino

TL;DR: A parade of small storms will refresh snow conditions tonight (Saturday night), Monday, and again on Thursday. With the 1-2+’ of snow that blanketed the Wasatch last week, riding conditions should be pretty good for the next handful of days.

Nowcast: High temperatures hung around the low 30s today at most Utah resorts, with a thickening overcast ahead of a weak storm arriving this afternoon. In the Valley, cold pool haze thickened, too. Thankfully, active weather this week will keep air quality from getting too out of control.

Short Term Forecast: The first small storm of the week is on our doorstep. Nothing about this storm is very impressive, but ample low level moisture and instability combined with flow generally perpendicular to the Wasatch will be enough to get the ball rolling. Snow showers will begin this afternoon, primarily after resorts close for the day. Snow should continue overnight before tapering Sunday morning. Expect <4″ of snow in the Cottonwoods and 1-3″ elsewhere by midmorning tomorrow.

A second storm will arrive in the area on Monday, but this one is a little trickier to forecast. This is a stronger storm, but most of its punch will be directed to our south:

500mb trough just a bit too far south to bring big snow to the Northern UT resorts.
Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

Southern Utah resorts will do well here, with up to a foot likely for Eagle Point and Brian Head (The San Juans in Colorado could also see a good dump). Northern Utah resorts will be on the northern extreme of heavier precipitation, so small track changes over the next few days will make a big difference for storm total snow accumulations:

Respectable precip totals to the south with a sharp gradient to the north means uncertainty.
Courtesy of Pivotal Weather.

As far as snow totals from this one, it’s probably wise to set low expectations for now. I’m looking for 3-6″ in the Northern Utah resorts Monday-Tuesday, but will keep my fingers crossed the forecast trends deeper.

Long Term: A follow up storm looks likely on Thursday, and should bring a chance at another couple inches of accumulating snow. I’ll let my colleagues dissect that one in the coming days as details emerge. Beyond that, the pattern looks to remain generally progressive, allowing storms to continue tracking through the west. I don’t see any huge dumps on the horizon, but I don’t see a huge lack of dumps either. Some is always better than none.

And just for fun, I’ll leave you with this view from one of Alta’s webcams. Snow showers have fired up as I’m writing, and it is positively nuking right now. Happy holidays!

Dumping!

-Nathan Tarino

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