After a period of pleasant Autumn weather, we will have a very cold system pass through the region middle of this week. A few light snow showers are likely. We clear out and start to warm up this weekend.
Short Term Forecast
Over the past week (since my last post), we've been mostly clear with pleasant Fall weather. We've had a couple weak cold fronts move thru the region that have picked up winds, dropped temps from time to time, and even put down a dusting of snow up north.
This benign weather, however, should come to an end middle of this week as we have a VERY cold trough dropping into the Northern Rockies out of western Canada. You can see this trough clearly on the below animation of surface temperature anomalies:
Those purple colors indicate well below normal surface temperatures. You can see that the coldest air (maroon colors) is to our north and east on the other side of the continental divide. Just in time for my sister's wedding in Denver on Saturday. :-/
The main story will be the temperatures. We will cool down significantly on Wednesday with the coldest air on Thursday. Temps on Thursday will stay in the teens and 20s in the highest elevations with 30s for the valleys. A very brisk and cool day.
As for precipitation, this is an overland storm track that is already not conducive to moisture. Add to that the fact that the best dynamics will be to our north and east and we shouldn't see too much snow. Right now, this is the total expected precip per the GFS model:
Not much, and even less when converted to snow:
Likely just a dusting for the mountains of Northern Utah. Certainly not enough to cause any issues. However, there is a factor to this storm that the models don't really show. This time of year the Great Salt Lake is still quite warm and this is very cold air. Anytime we get very cold air passing over a relatively warm lake, we have a threat for lake effect snow showers. Of course, temperatures aren't the only ingredients necessary. You need moisture and instability as well -- which may be limited with this storm. However, the possibility exists that areas south and east of the GSL could pick up some additional snow on Thursday via lake effect showers. We'll keep an eye on that.
We should clear out by Friday and warm up thru the weekend back to near average. Should be another perfect Fall weekend for getting outside.
Weather looks relatively calm into early next week. Our next chance for a trough appears to be sometime in the October 18th - 21st range. Usually I'm OK with big snow storms starting in late October as long as that continues into November. At this point it's way too early to tell if we will have any bigger snow storms, but the atmosphere and synoptic patterns are continuing to develop into something that looks more like winter -- so it shouldn't be long before we see a good storm.
I will update this week as needed if anything changes. Otherwise, expect much colder weather and snow showers in Northern Utah.
Evan | OpenSnow
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