Ridge rebuilding… encouraging signs remain (Monday PM update)

Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 9:51 am

Happy New Year to all!

2012 is upon us and this record-breaking dry spell continues for the Wasatch.  Had a good, long look at climo today and there are good signs out there that things are starting to change in our favor.  However models have struggled to find a solution in the long term.  Lots of questions still remain as to what will happen beyond the 10th or so of January.  What we do know is that another moisture starved system with clip northern Utah Friday night/Saturday and bring the mountains a couple inches of snow with some light snow showers possible in the valleys.  Ridge will re-establish itself for the first part of next week.  After that it’s a crapshoot…. No clear solution whatsoever and there is little confidence in any one solution.  We will have to wait and see if the models grab onto the idea of a pattern change in the upcoming days.  Stay tuned…

Previous discussion:  Strong zonal flow just to our north did just as expected over the last few days, brought our mountains light amounts of snow; 2-6 inches total.  Farther to our north, toward Jackson Hole, Wy and the Pac NW, much more substantial accumulations were reported and enjoyed by skiers up there.   Today we’ve cleared out with a cool northwest flow in the wake of last night’s cold front.

Ridge will rebuild over the area and warm us up substantially in the high elevations.  Inversions will develop once again in the Salt Lake area and other lower valleys.  Next chance for snow will be Friday/Saturday of next week as a weak system tries to break through the ridge.

After that, things are really up in the air but a combination of factors make WSF think that we stand a good chance for a pattern change as we get closer to mid-month.  MJO, which has been stuck in a weak Phase 5 for some time, is now moving and forecasted to move into Phases 6 and 7 over the next week or so.  Often pattern changes take place in the week or two after the MJO moves into these favorable locations.  Both the PNA and the AO are much more neutral than they were at the beginning of the month which would allow a ridge to build up toward the Aleutians and force systems down into the western US along with cold air.

Models have begun to pick up on this pattern change but still struggle run to run with how long the ridge will hold before troughing develops.  We are guessing that it may take a while, but by mid-month or so, the storm door will open for us and we can begin the long process of trying to catch up on our snowpack.

We’ll wait and see how this develops…

Stay tuned!


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