Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Dust Season Has Begun

It's still severe clear here in Utah, but a harbinger for things to come is underway in northwest Nevada where strong winds are causing dust emissions and transport in the region near and downstream of Pyramid Lake.

Winds are not strong enough for dust emissions yet in Utah, but assuming the land surface is ready to go, the meteorology looks good for blowing dust for tomorrow.  In particular, the 1800 UTC 15 Feb NAM forecasts strong 700 mb flow over the Sevier Desert tomorrow (reaching 60 knots at one grid point) and a roughly 6 mb sea-level pressure difference between St. George and Salt Lake City, which should drive strong southerly along barrier flow near the Wasatch Mountains.

It's tough to say where that dust will end up, but some of it will probably be deposited on our mountain snowpack (and subsequently buried...hooray...as the front comes through).

All of this is in advance of a developing Intermountain cyclone and cold front over Nevada and southern Idaho.  Tomorrow and tomorrow night look to be awesome days for any lover of front-mountain interactions, dust-snow interactions, and, snow.  Stay tuned.

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