Friday, February 27, 2015

I Need Some "Forecaster Friend"

What I wouldn't give for a slam dunk, strongly forced, relatively high predictability snowstorm over northern Utah.  We keep getting these amplifying and digging upper-level troughs with hit and miss snowshowers and snowbands that are tough to anticipate.  In times like these, I find myself consuming a few too many of these.

Forecaster's Friend was brewed by Utah Alum Kyle Tietze.  Kyle was a great student who
passed away unexpectedly a few years ago.  We miss him greatly.
The loop below shows the NAM forecast of 500-mb heights, clouds (b/w), and precipitation (color fill) through Sunday morning.  The main upper-level trough digs down the California coast and were mainly dealing with periods of snow showers that eventually concentrate in a snowband over central Utah on Sunday morning.  

Direct NAM model output for Alta-Collins shows a few snow showers later today (tallying about an inch), dry conditions overnight, and then more snow showers tomorrow adding up to another 3 or 4 inches.

The challenge with forecasts like this is that that the location and intensity of these snow showers and snowbands are somewhat chaotic, and that increases the uncertainty of the forecast for any specific location.  This also explains why you may have noticed some jumpiness in the forecasts for this weekend.  In addition, this is low density snow, so it stacks up fast, further exacerbating the challenge of forecasting snow amounts.

As things stand now, I'd probably call for 0-2 inches today, 0-1 inches tonight, and then 3-6 inches late tomorrow and tomorrow night in the upper Cottonwoods.  Given how little snow we have had this year, your best option is to go and ski and take advantage of whatever comes whenever it comes.  After Tuesday, we could be dealing with winter interuptus again.

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