Thursday, January 10, 2013

Powder Potential

The inversion is gone and we can now turn our attention to more important things: Powder.

We are in for a wild ride over the next couple of days.  It is gorgeous and warm this morning in the Salt Lake Valley.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest.  However, the brief flirtation with spring will be over quickly as a cold front is already pushing into northwest Utah.  

It looks like a tough commute later today as the cold front is forecast to be sitting right over the Wasatch Front at 5 PM (0000 UTC) this afternoon.

For skiers, there's much to be excited about.  This is going to be a cold storm with snow all the way to the valley floor from the get go.  Through noon tomorrow, the NAM calls for about 0.71 inches of SWE and 12" of snow at Alta, the latter based on our algorithm for forecasting snow water content.

Going for something in the 12–24" range at Alta through noon tomorrow based on this and the forecasts produced by the other models seems reasonable.  After that, there's an extended period of cold, unstable, post-frontal flow that persists into Saturday morning.  Post-frontal snow is always a crap shoot, but I believe additional accumulations are likely.

All this snow is great, but it is also going to be butt cold through the weekend.  Check out the forecast temperatures for Mount Baldy (11,000 ft) in the table above.  Sub zero for Friday (and also Saturday, not shown).  Enjoy your visit to the white room, but bundle up.  Backcountry travelers will probably find it difficult to take much of a break on Friday and Saturday.  I remember a tour a couple of years ago under similar conditions and I think we did 6000 vertical of climbing and barely ate as it was impossible to stop for more than a minute or two.  The puffy stayed on even on the ascents.  Be safe and watch for frostbite.

No comments:

Post a Comment