Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow! What is this...February?

To tell you the truth, I was caught off guard walking out of class when I saw snow accumulating on the sidewalks.
I suspected something about the weather had changed when I saw a fully cloudy sky this morning on my way to school, but I didn't expect snow today. I guess I should have paid better attention to the weather.

From the NWS in Salt Lake:
 AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION 
  NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SALT LAKE CITY UT 
  1002 AM MST THU FEB 26 2015 
   
  .SYNOPSIS...A WEATHER DISTURBANCE WILL TRACK SOUTHEAST ACROSS 
  UTAH TODAY. A DEVELOPING STORM SYSTEM WILL AFFECT MUCH OF THE 
  SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL GREAT BASIN THIS WEEKEND. A THIRD STORM 
  WILL IMPACT THE ENTIRE AREA THE FIRST HALF OF NEXT WEEK. 
   
  && 
   
  .DISCUSSION...A WEAK SHORTWAVE TROUGH IS CURRENTLY DROPPING INTO  
  NORTHWEST UTAH AND NORTHEAST NEVADA PER LATEST WATER VAPOR IMAGERY.  
  RAP ANALYSIS SHOWS NORTHWEST FLOW AND 700MB COLD ADVECTION ALREADY  
  UNDERWAY ACROSS NORTHWEST UTAH AND MODELS SHOW THIS WILL CONTINUE TO  
  DEVELOP INTO CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN UTAH LATER TODAY. RADAR ALREADY  
  FILLING IN OVER NORTHERN UTAH WITH LIGHT SNOW REPORTED IN THE  
  MOUNTAINS AND DOWN TO AT LEAST SOME BENCH AREAS ALONG THE WASATCH  
  FRONT. 
   
  EXPECT PRECIPITATION TO CONTINUE TO FILL IN TODAY...BUT GENERALLY  
  LIGHT AND OF A SPOTTY NATURE GIVEN LACK OF A STRONG COLD  
  FRONT...WEAK LARGE SCALE LIFT AND MODEST INSTABILITY. GREATEST  
  AMOUNTS EXPECTED UP NORTH WITH THE BEST INSTABILITY...BUT HAVE  
  UPDATED TO INCREASE POPS A BIT DOWN SOUTH FROM AROUND CEDAR CITY TO  
  GREEN RIVER NEAR AN AREA OF SFC-700MB CONVERGENCE THIS AFTERNOON.  
  OTHERWISE HAVE ALSO INCREASED SKY COVER OVER SOUTHERN UTAH FOR THE  
  REST OF THE DAY AND MADE MINOR TWEAKS TO WIND GRIDS. 
   
  AS THIS STORM EXITS THE AREA TONIGHT...THE NEXT STORM WILL BEGIN TO  
  DROP IN FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. THIS STORM IS EXPECTED TO CARVE  
  SOUTH ALONG THE WEST COAST...FORMING AN ELONGATED NORTHEAST TO  
  SOUTHWEST-ORIENTED TROUGH AXIS AS THE STORM STARTS TO SPLIT. A  
  CHANCE STILL EXISTS FOR POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT SNOW FOR MAINLY  
  SOUTHERN AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL UTAH UNDER LONG-DURATION  
  PRECIPITATION EVENT LATE FRIDAY THROUGH AT LEAST MONDAY. STILL SOME  
  MODEL DIFFERENCES TO WORK OUT REGARDING QPF AND WHERE THE FOCUS OF  
  HEAVIEST PRECIPITATION WILL BE LOCATED. 

The radar shows this snow is widespread, and the camera display shows that as well.


Looks like this fun weather will stick around a few days...

This winter hasn't really felt like winter, so why the change?
Most of February we the Intermountain West has been the parking spot of a high pressure ridge. This kept our temperatures rather warm and skies clear. This is not the pattern that brings us snow.
Today, the ridge is off to our west, meaning a trough has backed up towards the west. This allows storms to come into Utah.



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