Split models . . .

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

Thursday PM:

Everything from this morning looks good. Very complicated pattern, so for simplicity’s sake, we’ll break it down for you. We have three (maybe four) storms that will hit us over the next week:

1. Saturday — this system should move into Utah during the early morning hours on Saturday. Very weak with little dynamics but decent moisture. Prediction: 2-6″ above 6,000 ft.

2. Sunday/Sunday night — this system looked really good about four days ago but has been trending weaker. Latest EC trended stronger again but not sold until GFS and NAM are on board as well. Predictions: 4-8″ above 6K feet.

3. Tuesday-Wednesday — all models agree this is the strongest in the series and overall model agreement is good. It’s a bit early to feel comfortable with this forecast but we could see 1-2 feet from this system if all goes well.

4. Thursday/Friday — very little model agreement on whether or not we’ll have a storm or not, but GFS has been consistent with at least a light to moderate event.

Hopefully that is an easy-to-understand forecast for these 3 (4?) systems over the next seven days. They aren’t huge, but we could see 1-4 feet in the Wasatch by the end of next week. Every day starting Saturday through Christmas should have great ski conditions. Can’t complain!

Thursday AM:

The complicated pattern continues… but there is a little more clarity today than yesterday morning. The Wasatch will be on the northern fringes of a cutoff low passing to our south today and tomorrow. We’ll see plenty of clouds, wind and occasional light snow now through Friday night. Saturday we will have a shortwave dragged into the area. This feature doesn’t look overly strong but does have decent moisture to work with so Saturday we may see a few inches of snow in the mountains. Hopefully it will be like last Saturday and surprise us with more snow than anticipated. What was once looking like a decent system for late Sunday and Monday is now looking like another weak wave. We should see widespread snow but total accumulations should be on the lighter side (maybe 4-8″ above 6,000 ft). Right now we expect total accumulations for the weekend (Saturday-Monday) to be 6-12″ in the high Wasatch.

All models then show a stronger system for late Tuesday into Wednesday. Because of poor model performance, we feel its a bit early to get excited but it’s worth noting that there is potential for a more significant event. Beyond that, GFS and EC have trouble agreeing on the overall pattern heading into Christmas. GFS wants to continue to drop systems into the area through the holiday and beyond. The Euro has been trending towards ridging. The short-term is complicated enough so will not stress about the long-term for now.

We may not be getting the huge dumps that we crave, but the frequent snowfall does look to continue and keep the ski conditions excellent. And hopefully next week we will see some big snows.

Stay tuned . . . WSF


Wednesday PM:

Still very little agreement between models. As of right now it looks like this:

Clouds, wind, and occasional high elevation snow for tonight through Friday. Snow showers likely on Friday night through Saturday with light accumulations above 6,000 ft (1-4″). Break in the action Saturday night thru Sunday morning. Another system for late Sunday through Monday with light to moderate accumulations. Lots of questions beyond Tuesday of next week but the overall pattern looks to stay active. Let’s hope that means stronger systems. Hopefully the models will start to look somewhat similar tomorrow.

Previous . . .

Wednesday AM:

Cutoff low is currently dropping down the west coast creating a tight pressure gradient and kicking up winds along and in the Wasatch.  This cutoff low will be ejected inland across SoCal and Arizona.  The Wasatch may see clouds, wind, and occasional light showers, but the bulk of the precip will stay well to our south.

Friday night and Saturday morning, the northern stem of a splitting system will impact the area.  We expect only a few inches at best in the mountains.  A stronger system is then expected to move in later on Sunday into Monday.  The GFS is getting better with the system but still keeps it weaker than the ECMWF or GEM and tries to split it as well.  We think the EC and GEM have a better handle on this system but the GFS’s stubbornness still keeps confidence low.  It’s also a fast-moving system so that will limit accumulation potential.  Our best guess right now is 6-12″ but if the EC wins out, we might see a bit more than that.

Northwest flow pattern should continue with fast-moving systems moving through the area.  Looks like we’ll have another one on Wednesday of next week, and another Friday or Saturday after that.  Still too early to tell how strong they’ll be but if we can get 6-12″ out of each of them, we could be heading towards Christmas with 2-4 feet more snow than we currently have.

It’s a very complicated pattern and the models are reflecting that with a plethora of differences between them.  We’ll just have to wait it out before we can give you all the details and hope for the best!


P.S.  We are starting a blogroll of Ski / Snowboard related blogs in the Wasatch.  We know many of you document your days via blog entries, videos, etc and would like to share them with your Wasatch shredding family.  If you have a blog that is ski-related and you’d like to have us share on this page, please send us a link to wasatchsnowforecast@gmail.com    We will take a look to make sure it’s appropriate and then throw it up there for you!



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  • peter

    on the sun/mon storm, any guess yet as to whether mon or tues will be the better day to take a vacation day to get some pow turns in?

    • My early guess would be Monday, but stick with us over the next couple days and we’ll have a better idea.

      • peter

        Thanks…Keep up the good job…I depend on your reliable forecasts.

  • Wright D

    GFS looks promising before and after Christmas. That’s still a long ways out. The good thing is that the GFS has these systems coming straight from the Pacific and not from B.C. More moisture!

    • Yes, last couple runs have looked great! However, I am having trouble trusting any of the models more than 3 days out right now so I’m trying not too look ahead too much.

      • Wright D

        Yes, that is true. I am a senior in Meteorology at Florida State University so I definitely know what you mean. Not to mention, the topography over there in the west must play games with the models.

      • Wright D

        No, this will be my second time out there. We went to Utah, and PowMow, for the first time last year from Dec 26-Jan 2 and were totally bummed because there was no snow any of the days we were there. Thankfully for us though, we were used to skiing icy, and nasty stuff back in the East and when we got to PowMow, we had a blast, even though the conditions were what you guys call awful. Updates from the models look promising for a much more enjoyable skiing venture this year, hopefully with falling snow while we’re there!

  • dug

    okay, i’m to the point i can’t keep checking in here. you get me all excited when were 7 days out, but once we’re 3 or 4 days out, i’m left with blue skis again. fool me once . . .

    oh, who am i kidding, i load this page like 8 times a day. cuz a fantasy is better than nuthin.

    • You should be excited. We have four systems that will bring snow to Northern Utah in the next week. They may not be huge but it will make for some great skiing in the next week!

  • Anonymous

    thanks guys!! best forecasting for what i need !! GO RIDE!!