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Aurora Over Utah + Chasing 900"


Snow showers develop in the high elevations of Utah by this afternoon and continue through Tuesday. It's not a big storm, but it might be enough to get us to 900". Then, we dry out and warm up to close out April and begin May.

Short Term Forecast

The aurora was on full display last night as a strong geomagnetic storm impacted the northern hemisphere and brought visible northern lights as far south as our neck of the woods. I was watching webcams as soon as it got dark as the geomagnetic storm forecast alerted me they may be visible. Sure enough, right after sunset you could faintly make them out on a few local webcams, especially those with longer exposures. Then, it peaked around 10pm with this amazing image from Sundance on the webcam:

Never thought I would see an aurora this clearly from Utah! 

Luckily, the clouds that were around yesterday cleared after sunset and didn't return until this morning. This is ahead of our next system that will bring snow showers to the high-elevations of northern Utah by this afternoon and continue off and on through Tuesday. The GFS downscaled product by the U of U is by far the most optimistic showing 1.2" of liquid and over a foot of snow for upper LCC:

This has been a little over-excited in recent storms so I'm not sure how much credence I'll give it. Our OpenSnow downscaled ensemble plumes show a mean of about 0.8" of liquid over the same period:

The NBM is quite similar with a max of about 0.8" with most areas in the 0.3-0.6" range:

What does that mean for the forecast? I think most areas will generally be in the 2-6" range, but the Cottonwoods could do a bit better with 4-8" of snow likely through Wednesday morning. Alta is now closed as of today, but they continue to track official totals through April 30, which means they basically have to get there with this storm. They are at 894" and need just 6" to reach the coveted 900" mark. Please please please! Let's hope and pray we get there. 

Extended Forecast

We are going to dry out by Wednesday and warm up into the weekend. I think the next week or so after Tuesday looks dry and beyond that, who knows? Not going to worry too much. May usually brings us at least one or two decent storms so even if we don't "officially" see a resort report 900", we should get there anyway. 

Evan | OpenSnow