Monday, June 16, 2014

Wax the Skis?

The models were hinting at a cool trough to move into Utah early this week when I last looked at things a few days ago, but it is now forecast to come in with some shiver my timbers weather.

It's snowing this morning at Paradise Ranger Station (~5400 ft) on Mt. Rainier (for some discussion, see the Cliff Mass blog).

That airmass is on its way to Utah, although it will modify and warm a bit before it gets here.  Nevertheless, it's going to get cold and by noon tomorrow we're below 0ºC at 700 mb with some snow at upper elevations in the mountains.

700-mb temperatures eventually drop to -3ºC or -5.5ºC on Tuesday night, depending on the model.  For June, a -3ºC 700-mb temperature is about 2 standard deviations below the mean.  In everyday lingo, that means it's somewhat cold for this time of year, but not exceptionally cold.  
Climatology of 700-mb temperatures by month in northern Utah.  Source: NWS
In northern Utah, we see an airmass like this in June about every 2–5 years.  By July, they are virtually unheard of.

The time series below is extracted from the NAM model, which is one of the colder models.  Temperatures on Mt. Baldy (11,000 ft) drop just below 20ºF, with about .32" of snow water equivalent yielding just over two and a half inches of snow.

Right now things look a bit to dry in the post-frontal environment to do much better than a couple to few inches, but hey, you never know.  Those with a passion can look at the photo below and scout out their routes for a Wednesday dawn patrol.


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