Thursday AM update:
Everything still on track from yesterday’s discussion. Front looks to start moving through the the Wasatch through the afternoon from north to south. Snow will pick up along the front. Expect the afternoon commute to be a hectic one. Snow will continue, heavy at times tonight both in the valleys and the mountains. Off and on snow will fall into Saturday. Storm total accumulations below still look good. 4-8″ for lower valleys. 6-12″ for benches/mountain valleys. 1-2+ feet for the high Wasatch. Friday is going to be the money day will lots of powder and snow falling all day. Saturday will be great as well! Both days will be COOOOLD, so bundle up… Enjoy!
Magnificent rhyming in the title aside, we are gaining confidence in the storm for Thursday afternoon-Friday night. Not that we didn’t have confidence in at least some snow before, but there were significant differences in timing between the models and still the threat of a splitting system so I was wary of over-forecasting snow totals. However, we have now entered the 36-48 hour window in which I usually feel more comfortable making my snow predictions and today is no exception. We previously forecasted 8-16″ with up to 20″…we are going to nudge that up a bit to 10-18″ with up to 2 feet in places. Now this doesn’t mean that we will definitely see 2 feet in the Cottonwoods or other west/northwest facing slopes, but the potential is there. Valleys will also see snowfall with 3-6″ likely with up to 10″ on the benches and higher amounts possible under a lake effect band if one forms.
Noticed this morning that the NWS is also feeling significantly more confident. Not surprised at all– 00z and 06z runs of the GFS looked great.
Here is a map depicting WRF (another high resolution model) forecasted snowfall for the West:
As you can see, there is a good swath of snow expected for the Wasatch . . . this model does well with orographics, but not great, so I’d expect totals to even be a bit higher in the areas favored by the northwest flow. You can also see a little yellow stripe just southeast of the Great Salt Lake, this is suggesting that lake effect snow will be a possibility. We think that if this occurs, it will likely happen on Friday/Friday night and will affect areas South and Southeast of the lake, including the Salt Lake Valley. We’ll have to keep an eye on this.
Beyond Saturday, there will be a couple more very weak impulses in the northerly flow that will give us a chance at a few more light snow showers, but nothing significant. We will be COLD right through next week and it’s looking like we’ll start to develop more frigid inversions again next week. Still questions as to how long this next dry period will last but to me it looks like our next chance at more snow will be around the 21st of the month when the Eastern Pacific ridge retrogrades a bit again.
Friday and Saturday should be awesome (but frigidly cold) powder days — so bundle up and have fun!