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Friday October 31st 2014 7:15am

Summary:

Splitting storm system will impact the region this weekend.  Gusty winds tonight and tomorrow.  Showers late on Saturday with mountain snow likely Saturday night and Sunday.  Not a big storm.  High pressure returns next week.

Details:

So our system is starting to move into the west coast.  It is elongated with precip expected to affect virtually the entire coast line from Seattle to LA.  This elongation of the trough is what will eventually turn into a split trough as it tracks east through the Great Basin on Saturday.  If you remember from last week, this trough was originally forecasted to be a cut-off low pressure center.  Well cut-off lows are formed usually when a trough splits, so the models were on to something back then.

The big story tonight into tomorrow will be the wind.  Gusty south winds will warm temps, but make being outside less than enjoyable. The first piece of energy will eject north on Saturday.  This looks to bring most of its dynamics north of the area into Idaho, but Northern Utah should see some showers and even thunderstorms with the front on Saturday afternoon.

The second piece of energy will drop south into far Southern Utah on Saturday night into Sunday.  Mountains of far southern and eastern Utah could see some decent snowfall totals with this section of the storm.  In the meantime, a cool northwest flow will develop in Northern Utah, but we are so far from the main energy, I'm skeptical we'll get too much out of the northwest flow.  In all honesty, it's just not a good situation for most of our mountains to get decent snowfall.  Right now I'd expect just a few inches in the Wasatch, perhaps up to 6" in the Uinta and maybe 5-10" in the higher mountains of Southern Utah.  Most of the snow falling on Sunday.... Lake effect is still a possibility, but right now I'd classify it as unlikely to be strong enough to do anybody any good.

Here is an image of forecasted precip, you can see how much of it either goes north into Idaho, or south into Southern Utah or Arizona.  Northern Utah is left fairly dry...

nam_qpf

Long range:

Next week high pressure takes over.  Warm weather looks to be in the cards for awhile.  Makes me think that perhaps getting less snow this weekend might actually be a blessing.  Some long range models are trying to bring an active pattern back to the area during the second week of November, but with model performance lately, I'm not buying it.  For now let's just focus on the short-term and hope for the best.

Evan | OpenSnow

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Thursday October 30th 2014 7:32am

Summary:

Warm today and Friday with winds picking up Friday evening. Storm system moves in on Saturday bringing high elevation snow showers Saturday afternoon thru the day Sunday.  Much cooler temps expected.

Details:

Watching this storm (like any storm when you're desperate) has been a roller coaster of emotions.  Models were looking good a few days ago but I was skeptical.  Sure enough, they've been splitting the system more and more over the past couple days.  We'll still get snow, mind you, just not the totals that may have been suggested a few days ago.  Personally, I'm setting my expectations low.  3-6" with a chance for more in some areas.

This system has a significant southerly flow component to it on Saturday.  High Uintas could do alright in this pattern as well as Snowbasin and Powder Mountain at the very highest elevations.  Snow levels during this period of the storm will likely be above 8,000 feet.  By Saturday night, snow levels drop and we see the flow switch to northwesterly.  This is when most of the snow will fall for most resorts.  The big question right now is just how much moisture we get during this period.  Personally, I'm not optimistic, however there is a good chance for lake effect downwind which would obviously significantly boost totals if it were to occur.

Snow should dwindle by Sunday afternoon and clear out completely by Monday.  High pressure returns for next week! Temps should remain cold enough Monday - Wednesday for some nocturnal and early morning snow making!

Long range:

Still very little agreement in the long range.  I don't see any significant storms through Nov 9 at least.  After that, anything can happen.  With an extended break likely after this weekend's storm, we are leaving ourselves susceptible to rotting layers.  Maybe it would be best if we hope for no snow at all...

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Wednesday October 29th 2014 7:27am

Summary:

Warm weather continues through Friday.  Winds pick up for your Halloween ahead of a storm for Saturday and Sunday.  Snowfall likely in the mountains (and maybe even valleys on Sunday).

Details:

Quiet weather set to continue through Friday with all eyes focused on the weekend.  Friday afternoon could get windy and there maybe be a few trick-or-treaters blowing around in the wind.

Saturday the storm itself starts to move into the area.  Trends in the last 24 hours have been to slow down the arrival of the system until later in the day on Saturday and into Saturday night.  The other trend has been for the system to split more as it moves inland.  To be totally honest, I have a really bad feeling about this system.  There are just a number of things that could go wrong.  For that reason, i think setting your expectations a bit lower in the 3-6" range for the mountains is wise -- just know that there's a possibility of 6-12" if everything goes right.

There is also another wild card -- lake effect.  As mentioned the other day, this is the optimal time of year for lake effect as the GSL's surface temps are still very warm.  Due to our warm October, they are even warmer now than average.  So all we need is a modestly cold airmass with an unstable northwest flow and BOOM! Lake effect snow.  As always, it's very difficult to forecast, but don't be surprised if areas downwind of the GSL get some lake effect action on Sunday behind the front.

Snow levels will start out above 8,000 feet but should quickly fall below 6,000 feet Saturday evening and eventually to most valley floors on Sunday.

Long range:

We should clear out by Monday and high pressure looks set to return for most of next week.  Yesterday all major models were showing a large trough developing by November 9, today they are not so gung ho.  In fact, there is very little agreement at all.  It was looking like we would be getting a running start into winter, but now this happened...

faiting_goat

 

Don't worry, this long range is all 10+ days away and totally subject to change.  Really, anything is possible at this point so keep up the good thoughts and a storm or two will pop up!

Evan | OpenSnow

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Tuesday October 28th 2014 7:07am

Summary

Coldest morning of the year thus far! Warming up today with beautiful late fall weather continuing through the end of the work week.  Winds kick up late on Friday with our biggest snowstorm so far likely for the weekend!  Get Ready! 

Details

Cold morning out there! At least it seems so, although morning temps like this probably should have occurred several weeks ago in a normal year.  Here is a look at some of the temps around the area as of 6:30am: 

temps

 

Generally low 30s long the Wasatch Front with teens and 20s in the higher elevations.  

High pressure will keep us clear for the rest of the work week with temps moderating upwards.  By Friday winds will pick up ahead of the next system.  Southwest winds should warm most areas up into the 70s again.  

All attention is on the storm for this weekend.  I am currently in that awkward phase as a forecaster where I've been forecasting it for several days, there's not much new to talk about, and it's just hoping that models don't change their mind and have things fall apart on us.  Good news is that this hasn't happened yet -- everything still looking good!  Snow should start during the day on Saturday and continue into Saturday night.  A cool, moist northwest flow behind the system could keep snow showers going through Monday.  Here is the current forecasted QPF thru Tuesday of next week: 

ec_qpf

 

The orange and red in the Wasatch equates to between 1-2 inches of liquid.  I think a conservative estimate right now would say that the high elevations would see 6-12" of snow.  However, if things go our way, there are certain areas that could see over a foot.  

There is plenty of cold air associated with this system as well.  Temps and snow levels will drop rapidly on Saturday.  Good chance snow levels drop down to Wasatch Front valley floors by Saturday night, however most of the precip should end by then so we'll likely just see a few flurries in SLC.  

This looks to be the beginning of a permanent base for most of the Wasatch.  It's a "right side up" storm and it looks like it won't sit there rotting for several weeks as more storms are forecasted in the long range (more on that in a second).  Not a bad scenario at all! 

Long range

Long-range model ensembles continue the trend of building a brief ridge over the area middle of next week before a large scale trough develops by about November 8 or so.  This trough looks like it might usher in a series of systems.  The EC and GFS both show several waves moving into the west coast from about the 8th until mid-month when their runs end.  CFSv2 supports this idea with above average precip anomalies showing up for week 3: 

week3_anom

 

Way too early to say anything other than "it looks like it will remain unsettled."  The first step in getting big storms is opening the door for big storms.  Let's hope that door stays open for most of November!  At this point, despite our slow start to the season, I think resorts will likely have no problem opening on time if current trends hold!  Cheers to winter in the Wasatch! 

Evan | OpenSnow

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Monday October 27th 2014 6:26am

Summary

Coolest day of autumn so far on Monday with freezing temperatures likely tonight.  Calm weather through Friday before a stronger storm for the upcoming weekend.  Snow likely in the mountains! 

Details

Our storm system yesterday has moved through the area entirely.  It was a weak one and if you blinked you missed it.  Just saw a few snow showers up high with a dusting at best in a few select locales.  What we are left with in its wake is colder air.  Temps today (Monday) will actually be slightly below normal which hasn't happened much over the past month.  Low temperatures tonight will drop below freezing at elevation and likely below freezing for most of the Wasatch Front as well.  Time to cover or pull in tender vegetation! 

The rest of the work week will see calm conditions with temps moderating back above normal, culminating in a very warm Friday ahead of an upcoming trough for the weekend.  

This next trough continues to look good in all models.  It will drop down off the Oregon and eventually California coast before tracking inland.  Models currently take the Low pressure center right over Northern Utah, which would be ideal.  In this scenario, snow would develop in the mountains during the day on Saturday and continue Saturday night before tapering off by Sunday.  Here is a map of model QPF for this system: 

ec_qpf

 

This puts down over an inch of liquid for much of the northern and central Wasatch, which would equate to up to a foot of snow.  Of course, this is currently a best case scenario with regards to the track of this low.  There is plenty of time for things to change and the Low could end up dropping farther south or lifting farther north than currently anticipated. Remember, yesterday's system was looking good five days out before models changed their minds. What we do know for sure is that the mountains of Utah should get a new paint job next week.  

This system will also usher in much colder air.  This time of year is premium for lake effect snow.  We'll have to watch for the possibility of that behind the system.  Lake effect is difficult to forecast more than 24 hours out, so no point worrying about it now.  Right now it does NOT look like we'll have the prolonged northwest flow necessary for good lake effect.  

Long range

Next week, it looks like a ridge is progged to take control for a few days at least.  Long range ensembles still favoring a return to troughs and hopefully storms by about November 9.   Let's hope we can keep a progressive and snowy pattern going as we head toward opening day...

For those of you wondering about El Nino -- it's still there.  Currently we are in a very weak El Nino state and forecasts are for it to gradually strengthen.  At best it will make it to marginally moderate strength by mid-winter.  Thus, it shouldn't have too much impact on our weather other than to give a slightly better shot at snowfall to far southern Utah.  

Evan | OpenSnow

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