Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Winter Storms from Salt Lake City to PyeongChang

Lake-effect snows added a bit of frosting to the President's weekend winter storm last night.  Alta is reporting a 22" storm total, but only 3" overnight.   In the end, I think the storm did a little better than anticipated through yesterday morning and a little worse than anticipated yesterday and last night.  Such is the post-frontal crap shoot. There are reports of more than 20 inches (through yesterday afternoon) in Sandy and Cottonwood Heights, so this was an event in which storm totals did not increase significantly with elevation up the canyon.  

Temperatures this morning are bone chilling in the mountains.  The latest from MesoWest shows predominantly teens in the Salt Lake Valley, which isn't all that bad, but above about 8500 feet, most stations are at or below zero, with a -12ºF at 11,000 feet.  

Source: MesoWest
Ski touring on days like these requires constant movement.  I recall doing a huge day several years ago in conditions like this.  The skiing was outstanding, but I was cold the entire day, despite being heavily layered.  There were no breaks.  Did I mention that the skiing was outstanding?  

Turning out attention westward, the schedule for some weather-sensitive events is being shuffled due to the weather forecast.  The fly in the ointment is a surface trough moving across the Yellow Sea and the Korean Peninsula from 0600-1500 UTC 22 Feb (1500-2100 KST Thursday).  

This trough then intensifies into a cyclone over the East Sea (Sea of Japan) and, along with a secondary trough to the west, drives strong winds across the Korean Peninsula on Friday, as illustrated by the forecast valid 0300 UTC 23 February (0900 KST Friday).  

As currently scheduled, the Women's Downhill is 1100 KST Wednesday (7 PM MST Tonight).  This is well in advance of the trough and the main concern will be the omnipresent gusty winds and perhaps some flat light from cloudiness.  I think they will get it in.  Later Wednesday are the Team Cross Country Sprints, which they should also get in.  The DVR will get a workout tonight for that as the finals aren't until 1900 KST (0300 AM MST Tonight).   

Thursday at 10 AM KST is the Men's Slalom Run 1, 1130 AM is the Women's Alpine Combined Downhill, 1330 is the Men's Slalom Run 2, and 1500 is the Women's Alpine Combined Slalom.   This covers a period from 0100-0600 UTC 22 February and as can be seen in the plots above, those events are scheduled to occur before any precipitation arrives, but also as pre-trough southerly flow is increasing.  Official forecasts for the top of the downhill show 5 m/s (10 knot) winds through 1200 KST, then increasing.  It's going to be close.  

Assuming it does go off, tomorrow night (MST) should be a great viewing for ski fans.  Helping in that quest, there's no figure skating scheduled.  Hooray!

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