Spring is here!

Posted Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 by Julie Cunningham

TL;DR: Ridge building today with warm temperatures, followed by a dry frontal passage overnight into Friday that brings more seasonable temperatures to the region. Snow forecast is looking bleak. 🙁

Nowcast: After a short stint into summer last week (hello 79 degrees!), and a brief period of winter yesterday, it seems we are finally settled into more seasonable temperatures. The storm early this week brought roughly a foot of snow to the Cottonwoods, as well as about 4 inches to the Park City/Deer Valley side of the Wasatch. I hope you all are out enjoying the powder this morning before the strong April sun takes over; this may have been the last big storm for the Wasatch (though I’m crossing my fingers that this is not the case…).

Today looks to be a beautiful bluebird day, with temperatures currently in the mid-50s across the valley, and mid- to upper-30s at resort base elevation. After the passage of a trough to our southwest, a ridge is currently building in, bringing these warmer temperatures, dry westerly flow, and clear skies. Check out this gorgeous view from the webcam at Albion Basin:

Image courtesy of Alta Ski Area.

The troposphere really is quite dry currently, and will likely stay that way today and tomorrow before a cold frontal passage. This morning’s sounding from the airport reflects the lack of moisture, as shown below. A skew-T can be a little frightening at first glance, but the thing to notice here is the large difference between temperature (red line) and dewpoint (green line) throughout the troposphere (y-axis depicts increasing height or decreasing pressure).

Graphic courtesy of NOAA Storm Prediction Center.
Image courtesy of University of Utah, Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

You can also see the nocturnal inversion, where temperature briefly increases with height near the surface. This trapped a bit of smog overnight, as seen on the webcams on the University of Utah campus. Luckily, we have enough solar radiation this time of year to quickly mix out, so we won’t have to worry about bad air quality.

Short-term: There’s unfortunately not much snow to talk about in the near future. Temperatures will continue to warm today and tomorrow, with highs just above normal. A trough will scrape past northern Utah overnight into Friday, bringing a relatively dry cold frontal passage Thursday night. It might be a bit breezy along this front, but nothing precipitation-wise. Temperatures Friday will be pretty seasonable, with highs in the mid-50s in the valley.

Graphic courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

Long-term: After the frontal passage on Thursday night, another ridge builds in, bringing seasonably warm temperatures on Saturday. Models are suggesting another trough scraping by into Sunday, likely bringing temperatures back down to average. Unfortunately, this trough also seems to be pretty dry. Let’s hope we can squeeze in another big storm before the season ends. In the mean time, enjoy the spring skiing conditions!
– Julie

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