Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Potential Storminess Ahead

The models have been advertising a fairly exciting period of weather for this week and weekend the likes I'm not sure we've seen for some time. 

It's a complicated enough situation that I struggled with how to describe it in this post, and ultimately decided to simply use the GFS forecast time-height section for Salt Lake City for a summary (click here for information on time-height sections and remember time increases to the left). 

Through Wednesday, we're in the doldrums, but early Thursday we have a weak warm-frontal feature moving through northern Utah that might bring a bit of snow to the mountains.  Then things get interesting as a deep upper-level trough digs southward out of the Gulf of Alaska and parks itself along the Pacific Coast.  This leads to a period with strong southerly flow developing Thursday night and persisting into Friday.  Any snow available for transport at that time will surely go for a ride and we may see some dust as well. 

Right now, the GFS is advertising a frontal passage for mid-day Friday, with snow likely at all elevations.  A second cold front develops and moves across northern Utah late Saturday.  By and large, it looks like an active period.  It should be noted, however, that this is still a medium range forecast and much will depend on the evolution of the trough and it's interaction with the mountains of the western US (especially the Sierra Nevada).

The downscaled NAEFS mean is about 1.5" of water through 0000 UTC 4 March (5 PM MST Saturday), with a little falling with the warm front and most falling with the cold front after mid-day Friday (there are differences in timing).  This bodes well for a good powder day Saturday, provided the storm doesn't slow down (it happens). 

This is a storm worth watching and hoping that it stays together in a way consistent with recent model runs. 

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