Springtime Lull

Posted Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 by Mike Wessler

With temperatures steadily increasing in the valley this week, it’s feeling solidly like spring (even summer, for those of us from cooler climates!). The next few days should bring some fairly dynamic conditions, with a weakening trough approaching from the west.

GFS 500 mb Height Field Thursday into Friday
GFS 500 mb Height Field Late Thursday showing mid-level SW flow and the approaching trough

At first glance, it seems like this might be a trough that delivers a decent snowfall, but a closer look at the models show energy dissipating as the trough moves inland, with little moisture associated with it in the first place. We can expect temperatures at elevation to climb into the 50s for Thursday on the warm southwesterly flow as winds increase, especially at mid-elevations. Clouds will increase throughout the day with what moisture and lift is available, with the potential for mixed rain/snow showers overnight into Friday.

NAM Time-Height, noting the passage of a shallow front early Friday.
NAM Time-Height, noting the passage of a shallow front early Friday.

There’s some decent mid-level instability overnight into Friday morning that could produce periods of heavier snow showers in the upper Cottonwoods and high on the Park City ridgeline, though that support will be short lived. If snow showers continue into late Friday and Friday night, they will likely be light and sporadic. I’d say it’d be reasonable to expect 1-3″ at upper elevations with a trace to 2″ at mid and lower elevations. Being spring, surprises can happen, but the models have been indicating this system weakening for a few cycles now.

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