Getting inverted again . . .

Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

Monday update:

Not much change from yesterday’s discussion. Cold at all elevations today and, for the most part, tomorrow… then rapidly warming later this week up high. Still looks like our next chance at a pattern change will be the last four or five days of January.

Sunday discussion:

We are now firmly entrenched in a frigid airmass with temps likely not making it out of the teens today in the valleys and above zero in the higher elevations. There are a few very subtle disturbances within this cold northerly flow that could fire up a few light snow showers at times, especially on the benches and south and east of the GSL, through Monday morning. Very tough to even spot these disturbances on the satellite and therefore very difficult to forecast. But don’t be surprised if you see a few more light snow showers in the next 24 hours.

Then the main weather story will become the re-development of the nasty inversions we saw last week. Temps aloft will rapidly warm starting on Tuesday, however the valley cold pools and very stable pattern will combine for an extended period of inverted conditions. Right now it looks like the next week will feature high temps in the valleys struggling to get into the 20s with lows again in the single digits. Very similar to what we were seeing last week! of course, with the stagnant cold air trapped in the valley, so comes the haze. Air quality will take a turn for the worse this week. For right now, it looks like the inversions will stick around for at least the next week to ten days.

Looking into the future, there isn’t a lot of optimism. The ridge of high pressure will dominate the west and looks to park itself almost directly over Utah. Temps in the mountains will really warm up and we might start to see the snowpack dwindle again. We are currently around average in many areas of the Wasatch but I expect us to be at least 20% below average by the end of the month. Long-range models are currently not giving any hope of breaking through the ridge until the last week of January when a few model runs have suggested we could undercut the ridge. If this were to happen, it would mean much warmer systems if and when they finally break through. CFS isn’t quite as optimistic as it was last week for breaking down the ridge before the end of the month. The good news is the the PNA is trending back into negative territory which could help break down the ridge before long. MJO is actually fairly strong right now and has marched its way through Phases 4 and 5 and is now in Phase 6 which is not a favorable location for us. Forecast is for it to stall out for a bit in Phase 6. Hopefully it will continue to move into Phases 7 and 8 as those would help us trough up in west as well. (I know some of these terms may be completely unfamiliar to many of my readers but if you are familiar with teleconnections then great, if not, that’s fine too. I always try to let you know if it’s a good or bad sign so you don’t need to know what they are you just need to know how it could affect our weather. )

I wish I had better news to report . . . Obviously, weather patterns can change quickly and while it may look bleak now, Mother Nature could surprise us with an earlier ending to the dry pattern than expected. January is pretty much a lost cause for most ski resorts and this latest system could very well be the only real snow they see during the month. We’ll almost certainly be playing catch up going into February so let’s hope for a great February-April! CFS seasonal outlook was showing a drier than normal forecast for us for the Feb-Apr time period a few days ago but now gives us equal chances of above/below normal–so it’s trending in the right direction. Get up on the hill this week, as you should still be able to find some untracked lines. Later this week, you’ll want to get up there just to get out of the inversions. Enjoy the good snow conditions while they last! I’ll let you know when things are looking up for us.


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  • James

    When do you think our next storm will come.. im guessing the 24th.

    • There’s truly no way of knowing. . . But the 24th looks like a best case scenario right now. Let’s hope you’re right!

  • Steve

    I will build a shrine to Ullhr. I arrive on the 25th. Need the best case scenario. But looking at the GFS, this looks like a hell of a ridge of high pressure.

    • James

      Looking at history some of our best years have had a prolong dry period

      Can anyone confirm?

      • James… Yes, many of our best years have had extended periods of little or no snow. By no means is this winter doomed to be below average, we just think we’ll have to play catch up at least for a little while once this pattern finally breaks.

  • I am so glad I found you. COming to Utah JAn 24-29. Will there be anything to ski on? I will also be back in march, but not worried about then. Will bookmark your site for sure!!!

    • There should be snow for you to ski on though it may not be the best conditions Utah has to offer. Hopefully we break out of this dry pattern during your trip!

      • Skiing Utah on poor snow beats working hands down!!! For a moment you got me thinking: closures etc. As long as the lifts are open, it is still the best snow on earth!!!!!