Good signs . . . ?

Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 10:26 am

Friday AM update:

Yesterday we mentioned that we were in a ‘battle of the models’ with the GFS consistently showing an open wave system staying intact as it moved inland on Sunday and Monday. The Euro was showing the system splitting with most of the energy heading south and developing a cutoff low over the desert Southwest. Today it looks like there’s been some resolution to the model discrepancies and it wasn’t what we were hoping for. The latest (06z) run of the GFS reverted back toward the splitting system idea. 12z run continued with this idea. Not surprised at all–in fact, yesterday I mentioned what we’d probably end up with is a splitting system, but perhaps not as drastic a split as we were expecting. When the major models are in doubt, a compromise solution is usually the most likely. We will likely only have a chance for light snow on Sunday night and Monday with little or no accumulation. We might get some mixing of the inversion, but not totally scour them out.

The twist in all of this is that the 06z run and the new 12z run are showing a trailing system dropping into Northern Utah as early as Tuesday with a reinforcing shot of energy on Thursday. If this pans out, we could see a chance for snow for much of next week. Lots to consider and it’s a complicated pattern. We should consider ourselves lucky with any snow we get next week as the pattern we’re in can sometimes mean no snow whatsoever for several weeks.

Still a bit early to say with much confidence, but my feeling as a forecaster is that even if we do get snow between Tuesday-Saturday of next week — it will be from systems that “beat the odds” rather than a true pattern change. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we reverted back to a dry pattern for the third week of January. We’ll see . . . Stay tuned.

Thursday evening update:

00z GFS guidance still showing the same pattern as the rest of today’s runs. Good news for our chances of accumulating snow on Sunday night and Monday! Hopefully the Euro will start to come around with this idea as well.

Thursday afternoon update:

For those of you that read this morning’s discussion and are eagerly awaiting the latest model runs to see if they continue to trend toward the idea of a late Sunday/Monday system, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that the latest 18z run of the GFS looks just as good if not better than this morning’s run for snow in Utah. The bad news is the 12z Euro still didn’t come around to that idea and still wants to split the system and form a cutoff low to our south. So for now, we are still locked in a Battle Royale between the two models… We’ll see which one comes out on top. Stay tuned . . .


Woke up this morning feeling the effects of a seasonal head cold. Seems to happen at some point every winter for me so I’m happy it’s occurring now when I don’t have to make the choice between recovery and fresh powder. Logged in to my computer today to start my daily rummaging through the depths of the weather world fully expecting to have to make another woeful post that there is little hope of snow for the next week. Luckily for me and for all of us, I was surprised by what I saw.

For the past 7 days or so the GFS has been very consistent showing little hope of precipitation in the Wasatch until about the 10th or 11th when we had a shot for a weak system to sneak into the Great Basin by way of the Pacific NW. The GFS and the Euro were both showing one system splitting well off the west coast early next week with some moisture shooting north into Canada and the rest dropping south into the southwest and Northern Mexico. However, the last two runs of the GFS have been much more optimistic holding this system together fairly well as it pushes ashore on Sunday. The GEM has also shown a similar solution. We are still waiting for the 12z run of the Euro, but as of last night’s run, it was still holding onto the idea of the system splitting completely and having little to no impact on Utah. Our best guess right now is that the system will still split, but maybe not quite as violently as previously thought, which means Utah, especially Southern Utah, will have a shot at some high elevation snowfall on Sunday night and Monday. Definitely worth noting and we’ll let you know tonight if the models continue to trend stronger with this system. It could end up being a pleasant surprise for us when we thought there was no hope for snow.

In other news, the system for later next week (January 10-11) is still showing up and looks like it could at least bring some moderate snow to the area if the models continue with their current trends. Beyond that, there is little consensus both model to model and run to run within the same model, so forecaster confidence is low.

For right now, it’s just nice to have some good news to report and let’s hope that we can get some surprise snowfall into the area on late Sunday/Monday even if it is just a few inches. It may also help scour out the inversions a little quicker too. Stay tuned as this is very much a developing scenario and we’ll have to keep an eye on it.


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