A very active pattern as we enter a several day storm cycle that will bring significant snow to all Utah mountains, setting up a perfect MLK weekend.
Short Term Forecast
Our initial wave of energy has been surging into Utah out of the southwest last night and this morning. As expected, it's been hitting southern Utah mountains hardest thus far. Brian Head is reporting 4" this morning and it should continue to snow down there thru much of the day into tonight. Here is the simulated radar thru early tomorrow morning:
Notice southern Utah sees the brunt of the snow with heavy accumulations likely thru tomorrow morning. Northern Utah sees a generally weak wave this morning with light snow likely, then a break this afternoon and evening before another surge brings snow tonight into Wednesday morning.
Wednesday might actually be sneaky good in Northern Utah mountains. Trends have been stronger with this wave over the past 24-hours. Yesterday I was only expecting a few inches, but today I'm thinking that perhaps 3-6" will be possible by midday Wednesday with 5-10" in the Cottonwoods. Southern Utah, where they've already seen 4-5", should end up with over a foot!
However, this wave is just the appetizer for the stronger system that will push in Thursday with an increasingly moisture SW flow. This will transition to a westerly and northwesterly flow Thursday night as the cold front pushes in. Significant snow will be possible in all Utah mountains from Thursday into Friday. You can see both of these systems well in the latest 12km NAM output for the Upper Cottonwoods:
After an additional 1-2 FEET of snow with this main system, you can see that upwards of 30" may be possible for the highest elevations between now and late Friday. In map form, it looks like this:
Look at all the pretty colors!
From a skiing/riding perspective, I think Wednesday should be very good. Thursday will get better late in the day but winds will be strong, Friday will be most excellent powder, and Saturday will be bluebird after the storm.
Some other things to consider...
Wind.... as with any storm it will be windy. Because we have a strong jet overhead, it could be even windier than normal with this storm. Expect gusty southerly winds up until Thursday night, then cold gusty winds behind the front on Friday. Wind loading will enhance avalanche danger in the backcountry, as will all this new snow. As always, please consult the UAC for details.
Snow levels... As you may expect, sub-tropical moisture pushing in from the south is going to be warmer in nature. Snow levels will rise, especially on Thursday, but I don't see them being an "issue" per se.... I think they will max out around 6500' -- which means almost all skiing elevations will remain all snow. Snow levels will crash down to valley floors again Thursday night into Friday.
Lunch.... What are you going to do for lunch on the mountain? Shell out the cash for an on-mountain meal, or brown bag it? Perhaps you should just pocket a protein bar for the chairlift and skip lunch all together so you don't miss out on any powder. Something to consider...
We will have a break Saturday and Sunday. Another system could impact the region on Monday/Tuesday but models are in a bit of disagreement. It's likely going to be only a weak to moderate storm. Euro keeps us somewhat active next week while the GFS builds in the ridge faster. Either way, it's still looking like ridging takes control of the western US for the end of January and perhaps beginning of Feb.
Evan | OpenSnow
Stoke continues to rise...
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