Friday, November 15, 2013

First Flakes

I love hiking in the early stages of a storm as the snow just begins to coat the ground, as was the case on my crack-of-dawn hike this morning.  There's something therapeutic about being wrapped in a good hard shell, having good traction to keep up a vigorous pace, and having wet snowflakes tickle the face.

This morning's appetizer storm is also producing a beautiful scene up in the mountains, at least in the Albion Basin web cam at Alta.

The main course will arrive late tonight and tomorrow.  The latest model runs are drier than yesterday.  This morning's 12-km NAM has a forecast total accumulation from this morning through Sunday morning of 8.6 inches in upper Little Cottonwood compared with 20+ yesterday.  The GFS is a bit drier as well.  A big reason for the decrease is that the models are calling for the trough to be weaker and faster moving, and this ultimately puts the brakes on the post-frontal snowfall on Saturday night.  Keep in mind that these models don't fully resolve the terrain of the central Wasatch, so accumulations are often (but not always) greater than advertised.

The loop below shows the progression of forecasts produced over the past few days by the GFS, all valid at 0000 UTC 17 November (1700 MST Saturday 16 November).  Note the variations in the depth and timing of the trough, but how the more recent model runs have been producing a weaker trough.

Keep your fingers crossed that things hold together and that the trough delivers on Saturday.

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