January outlook . . .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

So here we are in the New Year with the same old dry forecast.  This year has been a tough one for any snow-sport enthusiast in the Wasatch (and for most of the country as well).  It’s been especially hard for us weather forecasters who almost feel guilty when clues of potential pattern changes develop then turn out to be phantoms in the long-range models.  There have been instances so far this winter when I felt sure we were on the verge of a break through of the westerlies and a return to snowy weather for Utah, but every time Lady Luck has turned a cold shoulder and we end up with a continuation of the same pattern.

Our regular readers will know that since about Christmas or so, WSF has been predicting a start to a snowy pattern during the second week of January.  As we are now closer to that time frame, I can see clearly that we will most likely NOT see major snow during that second week of January.  However, we will see changes occurring in the Pacific that the GFS and EC have both picked up on that have the potential to drive snow and cold air into the area.  What that means for us is while the first half of January will be bone dry, the second half may be at least a return to normal winter weather (i.e. storms with significant accumulations).  Let me reiterate that there is nothing consistent in the long-range model projections yet to support this theory, but I am not alone in the weather community that believes it is only a matter of time before this change takes place.  We are now just playing a waiting game for when this change shows up in computer models.

In the mean time, we will have a very weak system pass over the area on Saturday that will cool us off and give us a chance for very light snow in the mountains (1-2 inches max).  Ridge will then rebuild early next week before another weak system could affect our weather middle of next week.  After that questions arise but again, no major systems are evident until at least the 15th and likely later than that.  Stay tuned….

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