Boring weather

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:29 am

Wednesday update:

Still no change in the going forecast . . . the next chance for snow will be around the 10th or 11th but it doesn’t look like anything major at this time even if it verifies. Pattern change likely won’t occur until mid-month or after.

In times like these we look at teleconnections which can frequently give us clues as to when a pattern change may take place. The AO (Arctic Oscillation) has been negative for the last couple months but is heading into positive territory where it spent much of last winter. This is not a good sign for us. The PNA is also positive (after spending most of the last two months negative) but may head back into negative territory by mid-month. That would be a good sign as a negative PNA is desirable for Utah. The MJO has been strengthening and is now entering phase 4… It is currently anticipated to move into phase 5 before dying again. Phase 4 is moderately good for us but phase 5 isn’t all that favorable. Overall, the only good sign is the PNA possibly going back negative again around mid-month.

CFSv2, which is a long range model, predicts drier-than-normal conditions to persist through the month of January with very gradual retrogression of the blocking Eastern Pacific ridge. Our guess is that it would take a miracle for us to have a decent January in the Wasatch as even if we get a pattern change by mid-month, which is a best case scenario, we’d still be playing catch-up for the entire second half of the month.

While most of this is not welcome news for many of you that were hoping to keep the powder riding going for as long as possible, I urge you to not despair. Many of our best winters in recorded history followed patterns very similar to this — good start to the season with snow in November and December before an extended period of dry weather through January, sometimes lasting well into February. Then, we often see a return to heavy and frequent snowfall in February-April. Let’s hope that this is the case this winter!

As always, we’ll keep you updated.


Tuesday update:

Happy New Year from WSF! Hope everybody had an enjoyable and safe evening! Not much to update today. Interestingly, there has been enough low-level moisture trapped in the lower valleys that fog and even areas of light snow have been periodically developing over the last 48 hours. Nothing more than a dusting, but enough to make for slick early morning roads. Models hinting at the Eastern Pacific ridge retrograding enough for a system around January 10-11… we’ll see if that trend continues in future runs. We’ll keep you updated. Yesterday’s discussion still rings true. Here’s to hoping for a snowy 2013! WSF


This morning there are a few very light snow showers in the Northern Utah but these should clear out this morning. We are now in an extended pattern of dry, boring weather. Atmospheric temperatures will gradually warm through the week as high pressure builds. Valleys will be slow to warm with inversions in place keeping the cold temps trapped. Air quality will also be on the decrease with thick haze developing in most valleys.

Snow is still in good shape although untracked and soft snow is becoming more and more difficult to find. The next week will feature a pattern of systems shearing apart as they move toward the west coast. Northern halves of systems will eject well north into Canada while the southern halves ‘cutoff’ and drop down the west coast before moving into the southwest or northern Mexico. There is a slight chance that one or two of these systems could drag enough energy into Utah to bring a few snow showers, but even that is unlikely for the next 10 days. These type of patterns develop at some point every season so as long as it doesn’t last for 5 or 6 weeks like we’ve seen in the past, we should be fine.

Right now it looks like around mid-month before we see a potential pattern shift. But even that is too far out to do much more than speculate, and a pattern shift doesn’t necessarily mean a shift to a wet pattern. So we’ll have to just wait this out. Still plenty of snow for you to go up there and fool around and have a great time. We’ll keep you updated as to any developments.


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