Big Changes on the way! (Thursday AM Update)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 8:14 am

Thursday AM update:

Models still in decent agreement regarding pattern change. Our main concern is that as we head into next week, the jet stream with be just a little bit too far north for Utah to generate huge snowfall totals.  We will definitely be getting more than we’ve been seeing so far this year (and more frequently) but we might be a bit too far south to really get hammered.  At least at first.

Late Sunday night into Monday we will see our first piece of energy move through the area, a relatively deep trough will sag southeast into Northern Utah and bring us cold air and some snow.  Moisture is limited with this storm and it is moving relatively fast so I wouldn’t expect much more than a few inches.

This will be followed by a lull on Tuesday and Wednesday as a warm, westerly flow establishes itself ahead of potentially stronger system later next week and into the weekend. (January 19-22).

Stay tuned…

Previous discusssion:

Yesterday was really the defining day of our season so far in terms of weather forecasting.  Monday morning had the EC showing storms hammering the Pacific NW and bringing a chance for systems to Utah as well, whereas the GFS was stuck in the idea that a flatwave ridge would push everything up into British Columbia and leave us high and dry.  Monday afternoon brought a change in the GFS that almost did a 180 and was right in line (for the most part) with the EC… this trend has continued all day yesterday and this morning, so confidence is increasing in this solution.  What does this mean for Northern Utah? Snow. Finally.

What is going to happen is a blocking ridge of high pressure is going to start building up toward Western AK and the Aleutians…. the models are placing this high in a great location right now but we’ll have to watch it because if it sets up or shifts a bit to the west of where it’s currently progged, we could ridge up again.  Low pressure systems and cold air are going to dive down the east side of this high into the eastern pacific.  At the same time, mild pacific moisture is going to undercut the blocking ridge and combine with the Cold Lows… the Jet will then shoot impulse after impulse into the pacific NW and eventually into California and the Great Basin, including Utah.

While it would be incredibly hasty for me to start making any snow predictions, I can say with some confidence that we will be seeing an increasing chance for snow throughout the work week next week.  Our first chances will be on Monday and Tuesday as the first wave passes mostly to our north.  Snow levels may be a question since we are on the southern fringes and the models still disagree on how much cold air will get worked into this pattern.  At this time I wouldn’t expect much until around Thursday of next week when stronger systems begin to sag south.  Right now anything outside of 5 days is out of the meteorologists comfort zone so I am not going to get into any details besides broadbrushing the fact that precipitation looks imminent in some degree (with potential for it to be significant).

This is an image of the GFS’s expected total precip for Today thru January 26…. It is nowhere near exact, but it gives you an idea of the change that’s coming.

As you can see, areas to our north will initially get the heaviest precip but Utah shouldn’t be too far behind, for those of you wondering, this equates easily to several feet of snow in the Wasatch.

Good news is fun to share and it will be interesting to see how this evolves.  Again, don’t go running around saying Wasatch Snow Forecast says we are going to get tons of snow, because it is just too early to make any sound predictions.  But it does look like change is well on its way.

Stay tuned… Happy Shredding!


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