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A beautiful day in the high country with a dusting of snow coupled with aspens nearing their peak color. This is the coldest airmass we have seen thus far this autumn with 700mb temps down to -3C across much of Utah. Tonight we will drop down below freezing in mountain valleys, so PC/Heber/Ogden valleys should prepare for a hard freeze. Snow levels have been as low as 6,500 feet this morning as a few scattered showers have traversed the region. Expect only a few more scattered showers this afternoon before we clear out on Thursday and warm up through the weekend. By early next week, temps should be appreciably above normal with low 80s possible in SLC and 60s in the mountains.
High pressure still looks set to dominate the weather for the next 10 days or so, however models are hinting at a pattern shift between October 10-15. EC has been showing this in ensembles for the past two days and the GFS ensembles are slowly climbing on board. Still too early to know what specifically that will mean for us, but it should certainly give us a better chance of storms moving into the area. We'll continue to watch and update accordingly...
Evan | OpenSnow
A few weak waves of energy will keep the threat of showers around thru Wednesday (10/1). Beyond that, we ridge up and dry out with warmer than normal temps expected for the foreseeable future.
It's that time of year again when winter storms quickly become the norm. Our last system this weekend was more of a hybrid between a winter Pacific trough and a summer monsoonal moisture surge. The combination of the two led to some impressive rainfall amounts between 1 and 3 inches of liquid. It also meant that snow levels for most of the event were at, or above, 11k feet. Only dropping down to about 8k feet after most precipitation had ended. The mountain peaks received a few slushy inches that should melt completely by the end of the week, so no need to worry about weak base facets in the backcountry just yet.
A broad trough overhead currently means that there are two weak impulses that will move into the region over the next 48 hours. The first will move through late today (Monday) and bring the threat of showers and thunderstorms (and high elevation snow) this afternoon and tonight. The second impulse comes in late on Tuesday into early Wednesday and will reignite showers and storms. Neither impulse is overly moist or dynamic, so don't expect anything other than widely scattered showers/storms.
By Thursday, high pressure starts to build just to our west and will strengthen through the weekend. Temps will warm and we will remain totally dry for at least a week. Highs in SLC should climb at least back into the low 80s. Maybe not what most people want, but it should make for some great Autumn recreation weather -- good time to get in some last high elevation camping/biking/etc.
At this point, you have to get real speculative to see anything in the way of winter storms in our future. GEFS ensembles generally keep some sort of ridge overhead through the middle of October. ECMWF (Euro) ensembles have a bit more hope, with many depicting a trough to develop over the Rocky Mountain region during the second week of the month. The good news, if you're hoping for storms, is that Autumn is a transition season and the models are notoriously poor at picking up on pattern changes in the long range. Wouldn't be surprised at all if something unexpected popped up in the next few days.
Evan | OpenSnow
Update, Friday 9/26:
It should come as no surprise by now, as we've been forecasting it for over a week, but in case you missed it.... The first cool, fall-like trough since late August is poised to move into the area tonight.
Temps will be warm and winds will be gusty today ahead of the system. Showers will pop up tonight ahead of the cold front but the real meat and potatoes of the storm moves in tomorrow. Heavy rain possible for much of northern and western Utah. Snow levels will be very high at first but lower to 9k feet Saturday night and perhaps 8k feet by Sunday night. Total accumulations should be just an inch or two except for highest peaks which could see 6"+ above 11k feet.
The heaviest precip should end before Sunday, but residual moisture and wrap-around could keep showers around until Monday morning.
Another storm is possible for late Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. This one is much colder and stronger in the European Model. The GFS is only moderately cool and just paints a few showers. We'll have to watch and see... Either way, Autumn is upon us and we are quickly on our way toward winter! Get stoked!
Evan | OpenSnow
Isolated showers possible today. Break on Saturday before showers and storms return for Sunday and Monday. A more Fall-like system possible for late next week.
Our frontal boundary yesterday virtually stalled over far northwest Utah and southeast Idaho. By the time it finally moved into the Wasatch Front overnight, it had weakened significantly. Still, some metro areas saw stronger storms with plenty of lightning and thunder. You can see radar estimates for precip show were most of it fell to our northwest:
We will start to dry out today, but a few stray showers will be possible in the Wasatch and especially in the Uintas. Tomorrow should be a break day and the best day to get out and do something outside. A closed low will move through the region on Sunday bringing additional showers to the area. Showers should continue into Monday.
High pressure will be back for the middle part of next week but all eyes are on what looks to be our first Fall-like system since the end of August. A lot of uncertainty as both the EC and GFS have been waffling a bit, but right now it looks like the system will move in on Friday into Saturday. At the very least, we'll see cooler temps in the area and a good chance for at least a dusting of snow in the high elevations. We'll keep you updated!
Evan | OpenSnow
Scattered showers and thunderstorms likely late today (Thursday), tonight, and tomorrow. A break on Saturday before another push of moisture brings showers and storms late Sunday into Monday. Attention then turns to a colder storm for late next week.
The moisture from Odile all but missed Utah this time around, but the atmosphere is slightly more damp than it would typically be this time of year. Add in dynamics from a low pressure system moving through northern Utah and you get showers and storms that are likely to form late on Thursday into Friday.
We will dry out by Friday night and have a break on Saturday and for the first part of Sunday before moisture pushes back into the area late on Sunday. Another round of scattered showers and storms looks likely to last through Monday before we dry out again on Tuesday.
Now for the exciting part... Both the EC and GFS now have a trough dropping down off the PacNW coast middle of next week. The trough is progged to progress inland next Thursday and Friday. Both models currently show the trough weakening as it does so. Still, this would be a much colder storm than we've been seeing lately. Snow would likely return to the highest elevations. We'll have to keep an eye on it but it looks like around Friday of next week we could be much cooler and thinking about winter again. GFS then follows this trough up with a second one for the end of the month.
This change in pattern is fairly typical during Fall, which is why I said just the other day that even if models show dry patterns continuing, they may just be slow this time of year to catch on to things. Looks like they are catching on now...
Evan | OpenSnow