Our storm has cleared and we have four days of mostly sunny weather ahead with milder temperatures. Another active pattern looks set to return for next week with cooler weather and chances for snow, possibly significant. We are chasing all-time snowfall records in Utah!
Short Term Forecast
We are mostly clear this morning and it is beautiful after our storm dropped 10-20" of fresh snow in the high elevations. Here is Alta and Mt Baldy with the crescent moon overhead:
Same moon above PowMow this morning:
And absolutely caked Mt. Superior:
And, finally, an untouched Mineral Basin:
The storm did just about as expected. Generally 1.5 - 2" of liquid with 10-20" of dense snow. There were a few places that did worse or better depending on favorability. I mentioned before this storm that these types just always seem to disappoint, at least from a snow amount perspective. Thus, I forecasted conservatively and I think that paid off. For once the storm didn't deliver well-over forecast -- which thus far has been the theme of this year.
Speaking of this year, we are now into or approaching record snowpack territory. In fact, statewide (per NRCS), we are now at the highest average snowpack (all sites) for the state at this date EVER:
This isn't the deepest it's ever peaked, we still need a bit more for that, but it's the highest for this date. With a good finish to March and/or start to April, we could certainly set the all-time record. Of course, these only go back a few decades and there could be higher seasons that are not captured in the snotel era.
At Snowbird, we continue to pace in first place as the deepest snowpack for the date:
We've actually a sizable advantage now over second place. I added tags for some of the big years. 2011 had the highest, longest plateau peak you'll ever see thanks to constant snow through May. 2005 had a sharper mid-May peak that was near the same as 2011's. 2017 is in there more due to recency. It peaked just above the level we are currently at, so we should easily pass that.
Another interesting note is that with the 17" of snow reported in the past two days at Alta-Collins, March now becomes the 6th consecutive month of above-average snowfall. That is quite the stat -- showing not just the quantity, but also the consistency of this season.
As for the weather, we are sunny today through Saturday with temperatures moderating up to near normal. That means upper 20s and 30s on the mountain this weekend! Clouds could increase on Sunday but it should stay mostly dry. Here is the ICON model's output through the end of the day on Sunday:
Utah is high and dry for 4 straight days! Enjoy it, because this could be the longest stretch of dry weather we see this month...
An active pattern is set to return next week. The first storm is weak and weakening as it moves into Utah on Monday. Light mountain snow is possible but I don't expect anything significant on Monday. A stronger system then pushes in. This looks like to be late Tuesday into Wednesday and Thursday, but we timing differences remain in the models. This storm could be significant. The GEFS plumes show most ensembles and the mean going up, up, up next week with 2.5 to 3" of liquid by next weekend:
Here is the mean as a trend, which shows this idea has been fairly consistent for the past two days:
The good news is that this storm cycle appears to be a bit colder than the last with lower snow levels and lower snow densities. Here are the 850mb temperature anomalies for next week:
Even beyond next week the storm track doesn't seem to want to go anywhere. We may just close out March with additional chances for snow and the temperatures continue to look cool for the last 5 days of the month:
Last year we saw a warm spell in late March in Utah where KSLC reached 79F for 3 consecutive days. I don't think that's going to happen again this year. We continue to chase records of another variety!
Evan | OpenSnow