Saturday, November 18, 2023


Change is coming, albeit a temporary one, in the form of a digging trough that will bring a pretty good round of snow to the Wasatch on Sunday.

Until then, today (Saturday) will be a "meh" day with a few upper elevations now showers in the form of wet snow up high and rain below about 7500 or 8000 feet.  

But Sunday looks better.  The GFS forecast valid 1200 UTC 19 October (5 AM Sunday) shows the trough extending from the Washington coast into western Nevada with precipitation spreading eastward to northern Utah.  

During the day Sunday, we should get an extended period of mountain snowfall with the frontal passage and eventually, as pictured below, the cold northwesterly flow during the afternoon.  

This is not a prolonged storm cycle with multiple waves to really help build snowpack.  Snowfall will begin Sunday morning and probably taper off shortly after 11 PM.  The 6Z GFS is putting out a total (including the dribs and drabs today) of about 1.1" of water and 12.5" of snow for Alta Collins.  The wet-bulb zero level is forecast to be near 7500 feet by 5 AM Sunday so that means snow and not rain for the bases of the Cottonwood Canyon resorts to start, with snow levels dropping to near bench level by Sunday night.  

The HRRR is in pretty good agreement with about 1.2" of water and 15" of snow.  The greater snow totals are due mainly to a bit more at the end of the storm with higher snow-to-liquid ratios.  

Skiing later on Sunday or on Monday looks to be the call.  I'd lean toward the latter unless things come fast and furious on Sunday.  It'll be dust on dirt/crust in the morning and will need some time to stack up.

The NWS is going for 10 to 16" and that seems pretty good for me.  I might go for more if this storm was a bit more unstable and the northwesterly flow more persistent, but right now, that doesn't seem to be the case.  If we had a decent snowpack, this would like like a goldilocks storm with Monday a good day to call in sick.  

After this storm, the models look dry again until perhaps Thursday when another digging trough flirts with us.  Hard to say how that one will work out at this time.  Overall the pattern is one in which we have to live on whatever slips through the net from time to time.  I've yet to see a suggestion of a major storm cycle to really get things rolling.  This year we're just going to limp into the ski season, although the Sunday storm will help.   

No comments:

Post a Comment