Mild inversions will redevelop, but there is already an end in sight

Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 9:42 am

Not much happening in the near term . . . A high pressure ridge is slowly asserting its dominance over the area.  Inversions will start to develop this weekend and heading into the upcoming week.  Two key differences with these upcoming inversions — firstly, a lack of arctic air so valley temps will be cool but not frigid like last time, and secondly, there is already an end in sight.  So the main effect with be urban haze for a few days.

We are still looking at a system for late in the week, currently timing for Friday into Saturday.  The system has looked a little better in the GFS and about the same in the Euro.  At this point, it looks like it could be moderate storm. Stay tuned this week as we fine tune the details .  .  . Could be some powder for the weekend warriors . . .

Unfortunately, we are still under the influence of a dominant ridge over the west coast that has been in place since the beginning of the new year.  That means when we see snow, it is usually short-lived and we quickly return to ridging.  This looks to be the case again with the upcoming system. We’ve been waiting for a broad-scale pattern change for quite some time to no avail. The MJO has been our best hope and the good news is that it is now in Phase 8 and forecast to move into Phase 1 in the next couple days. Unfortunately there are some suggestions it might weaken as it moves along.  The MJO isn’t like a light switch that flips on the storminess the second it moves into Phase 1, it takes awhile for us to feel the downstream effects.  So while the long range isn’t showing a major pattern change quite yet, I’m excited to see what shows up in the next few days as they catch on to the propagation of the MJO.

Taking a look at our overall snowpack, it’s clear that January did a number on our numbers.  We entered the month generally between 100-125% of normal and are now sitting at 75-95% on average in the Wasatch.  At least this last storm this week helped us out a bit, at least in places.  Snowbird Snotel was sitting at 79% last weekend and is now at 89%.  Until we can get a major (and more permanent) pattern change going, I think we’ll continue to see these numbers drop.  MJO powered Miracle March? We’ll see.


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  • DJ

    We are flying in next Saturday morning. Would you expect snow or rain in the valley with this type of storm? We hope to be riding by noon and hope the airport won’t be impacted.

    • Hard to say for sure this far out. I would guess it will be a storm that starts as rain in the valleys and changes to snow. Good news is that the SLC airport does a great job with keeping the runways clear even during snowstorms. Stay tuned and we’ll have more details as we get closer.

  • Anonymous

    Any hints right now for two weeks out? I’ll be hitting the cottonwood canyons on the 16th!

    • Still too far out to know. Check back in a week and I’ll have at least a general idea what you might be able to expect.

  • Anonymous

    Any idea of what the conditions will be like in Mid-March? Thanks!

    • Too early to know details that far out. Sorry. Stay tuned…