The toughest forecasts are always the most fun because they mean that snow is on the way. This weekend’s storm is going to be especially difficult to forecast since it is a cut-off storm, meaning that it is cut off from the main west-to-east flow of weather. When a storm like this meanders around, the forecasting computer models have a difficult time figuring out which way it will drift, and the storm is often slower than the models think.
What I do know is that the storm is currently in the Gulf of Alaska and will work its way south and east, finally arriving over Utah by Friday. Snow will pile up on Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, with the best accumulations in southern Utah. However, the Wasatch could also see good totals of 5 to 10 inches.
By Saturday, the storm will move further east and cross Colorado. Initially the snow will favor the southern mountains around Wolf Creek, and also eastern areas like Eldora, which benefit from easterly “upsloping” winds. However, as the storm moves east of Colorado by Sunday morning, wrap-around flow will allow the winds to blow from the northwest which should help the rest of Colorado see additional snowfall. In short, it looks like a good storm for most of the Centennial State.
This same storm may continue to bring light snow to Colorado through early next week before it finally moves out by Tuesday into Wednesday.
Joel Gratz is a Meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.