Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Keep Expectations Low

I've been thinking of hanging it up for the season.  Not skiing, but forecasting.  It's starting to get depressing.

I needed to remind myself this morning what a decent storm looks like in the Wasatch.  Certainly over an inch of water in 24 hours.  Or, better yet, a good pasting and base builder, which would give more than two inches of water in 24 hours (maybe 3 at the upper end).  What I wouldn't give for that.

We do have a storm on the horizon.  The GFS forecasts a cold front pushing through Utah tomorrow at 5 PM MST.  The cold front is really a thing of beauty, wonderfully continuous in terms of the wind shift, temperature gradient, and precipitation band from NW Wyoming all the way to the White Mountains.  That's a rarity.

We look to get some mountain and valley snowfall with the front.  Following frontal passage, a strong surface cyclone forms in the four corners area.  Could be some nasty weather for the Canyonlands area.  The Wasatch, however, are on the edge of it, the so-called "wrap around" area.

A best case scenario for us would be for the front to be a good producer and the wrap around to be close enough to give us some additional snow.

Most members of the SREF ensemble, however, give us 0.1-0.3" of water at Alta Collins with the frontal passage tomorrow afternoon or evening, and little thereafter.  There are five members (out of 26) that go for either a more productive front and/or wrap round period, with an inch of water produce by one member.  One out of 26 ain't that bad right?

So, best to expect this to be a relatively modest event.  The snow will likely be of the low-density variety, so my take is 3–6 inches for Alta Collins with the frontal passage.  More will require a more productive front or wrap-around period than currently being advertised.  At least it's white.


  1. Yes these are times to try the souls of all true wannabe dirtbag skibums. I will understand if you don't post anymore. However, whatever you post I will read with relish!

    NOW! is the time to PRAY for MORE SNOW and LESS WIND

  2. Give up forecasting and focus on burning skis, taking ceremonial shots and other assorted voodoo to appease the snow gods.

  3. For what its worth, successive model runs of both the GFS 12z and 18z runs continue the trend of a slowing and deepening upper low over southern Utah.
    Maybe some hope for snow amounts on the higher end...5-8 inches in the Wasatch??