Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mild Weather and the Warm Before the Storm

It's hard to believe, but the last day with 10" of snow or more at Alta was November 23rd.  Given that we won't see snow again until Friday night and Saturday, that means we'll have a run of at least 16 days without a deep-powder day.  Anticipation for snow is running high!

The forecast through the arrival of the next storm is fairly straightforward—continued unseasonably warm weather.  The only real question is how warm will it get, especially Thursday and Friday.  The latest GFS shows southerly flow picking up in advance of the approaching storm system late Thursday.

This strong flow persists Thursday night and Friday.  Earlier in the week I thought we might make a run into record temperature territory on Thursday.  That's still a possibility, but the strong winds ahead of the approaching storm are coming in a bit slower than in previous forecast runs.  For temperatures to really skyrocket in December in Salt Lake City we need the flow to pick up during the day to scour out the stable air over the Salt Lake Valley and to keep the lake breeze at bay.  It's going to be close.  We'll have to see how things play out.  In any event, it's likely that temperatures will climb at least a few degrees, so we'll have the warm before the storm Thursday, Thursday Night, and Friday.

Events and Announcements:

I've joined the dark side and you can now follow me on Twitter: @ProfessorPowder.  Tip of the hat to Backcountry Magazine for the clever handle.

I'll be giving a talk on my new book Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth at the Alta Lodge at 5:30 PM on Friday December 12th, with a book signing to follow.  King's English will be there selling books if you need to pick one up.


  1. I think we might get really warm by midday on Friday with the 700-mb temp still warm (+3C GFS and about +4C in the EC) and strong south winds. The Salt Lake Valley usually seems to be well mixed when its like this. Even with cloud cover this could put us into the upper 60s or possibly near 70 ahead of the front on Friday.

    1. Agreed. Either day could go big. In addition, there is the potential for an unusually high minimum temperature on Friday morning, although whether or not it stands as the low for the calendar day depends on what happens Friday evening.

  2. This is good, I've been looking for a good reason to wear my Hawaiian shirt for my last lectures on Thursday. :)