A cold front will move into Northern Utah later today into tonight and bring snow to Northern Utah mountains. Accumulations should be generally light. Additional chances for snow next week.
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Short Term Forecast
Snowpack Analysis in "Extended Forecast"
Today will be warm and breezy in Utah ahead of a cold front that will be pushing into Northern Utah later today into tonight. Expect snow showers to develop in the high elevations of far northern Utah this afternoon, then gradually push south this evening into tonight. This is not a big storm by any means, and perhaps the biggest impact will be to cool us down significantly for Thursday and Friday. However, we should at least see the chance for a few inches of high elevation snowfall -- with perhaps up to 6" in favored areas such as the Cottonwoods or far northern Wasatch. Here is the latest 12km NAM projection:
It's showing a little over 3", but with orographic enhancement, I think we should see a bit more than that in the Cottonwoods. 3-6" seems like a good bet there with 2-4" elsewhere.
Temps will be much cooler on Thursday and warming a bit on Friday as we see a break in the action. Additional weak systems will brush northern Utah this weekend, bringing back the threat of mountain snow showers.
At this point, our next chance for more appreciable snowfall looks to be early next week. Details are still vague, but we should continue to see a fairly active and cool pattern as we head toward the middle of April.
This has been a strange season on so many levels. The abrupt end to ski season just made it that much stranger. But even from a snowpack perspective, we had a really wildly variable season. Let's start in Cottonwoods, traditionally the snowiest place in Utah.
You can see that this year (blue line) we are well above median snowpack (purple line). We currently sit at 118% of normal. We are also now above the median peak snowpack, which means that even if we saw no additional snowfall, we would technically have an above average season at Snowbird. Yay! We are, however, running significantly behind last year. Last year also had a good April, so we would need an April Miracle to have any chance to catch last year's numbers.
Farther north, near the Idaho border and Beaver Mountain, Tony Grove Lake is also sitting pretty:
TGL is actually above last year's numbers and is now well above the median peak snowpack. That means that they will also finish the season with above-average numbers!
The strangeness in this year's snowpack however, is illustrated when we look at Ben Lomond Peak. Ben Lomond, which is near-ish to PowMow and Snowbasin is also one of the snowier locations in the state... and despite being directly between Snowbird and Tony Grove Lake, it didn't fare nearly as well this season:
Ben Lomond's numbers were running close to average thru January, but then saw very little snow since mid-February and has fallen behind dramatically. This last storm series helped a bit, but overall, Ben Lomond, which should be peaking in snowpack right now, is still well behind average and WAY behind last year.
Park City numbers have been decent but not great. Thayne's Canyon snotel site showing a pretty average season:
Well behind last year's numbers but with the upcoming snow, they should just barely peak above normal.
Timpanogos Divide near Sundance also had a rough season despite their relatively close proximity to the Cottonwoods (which did well):
They made up some good ground recently, but still behind normal and WAY behind last year.
As you head farther south to southern Utah, the season may have been even stranger down there. Essentially, southern Utah was characterized but an amazing start to the season, then an amazing March, with virtually nothing in between. This can be seen clearly in the snowpack numbers for Midway Valley near Brian Head:
Despite the long flatline mid-season, the huge storm cycles in late November/early December and then again in March have allowed for this area to finish the season above average, but again, trailing last year.
When we look at this basin by basin for Utah, we see this:
Southern Utah did the best this season, with good numbers in the far north and Uintas as well. The lowest numbers were generally in between in Central Utah. Elevation seemed to play a big factor as well. Most high elevation sites did OK while lower elevation sites struggled more than usual. If we average all the snotel sites in the state we get the following:
This year (black line) has generally remained above average (green line) for most of the season. A dry end to February and start to March saw us fall back to near average, but an active mid and late March pattern saw the numbers jump back above median. We are now guaranteed to finish the season with an average snowpack above the median!
As for recreational purposes, few of us would argue that thru January, this season was awesome! Lots of storms, high quality snow, few complaints. Then, starting in February, we started to see fewer storms, and the ones we did see had very high density snowfall. This transitioned to a dry period to end February and start March. When things finally picked up again with more good snowfall, it coincided with the unexpected closing of resorts and halting of much of the recreation. So yeah, it was a strange season for a lot of reasons.
The season is not over from a snowfall perspective. If you read the forecast above, we have several more chances for snow as we head thru April. April averages up to 60" of snow for the high elevations and it's not impossible to see up to 100". Locations like Snowbird don't typically peak until the last few days of April, so we could add quite a bit more to the snowpack before all is said and done.
Evan | OpenSnow
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