Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tooele Rainshadow and Wasatch Mountain Precip

One of the most persistent features in the radar loop this morning is the rain shadow over the Tooele Valley.

Reflectivities are consistently high upwind (south) of South Mountain over the Rush Valley, but there's a sharp gradient in reflectivity over or just to the lee (north) over the Tooele Valley.  Even small, narrow ranges like South Mountain can have a dramatic influence on precipitation if they excite high amplitude mountain waves with strong subsidence in their lee, which appears to be the case today.  I wonder if it almost looks Foehn-like if one looks south toward South Mountain from the Tooele Valley.

Precip totals since midnight near the crest of the Wasatch Mountains are very consistent with expectations during large-scale southwesterly flow.  Big values on Ben Lomond and in the northern Wasatch, and then further south around Timpanogos, Cascade Mountain, etc.  From north-to-south (SWE in inches):

  • Ben Lomond Peak: 3.6
  • Snowbasin Middle Bowl: 1.41
  • Alta-Collins: 0.71
  • Aspen Grove: 1.57
  • Cascade Mountain: 1.5
Bummer that we don't have access to a reliable precip site on the Park City side of the range.  

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