A case of the Mondays

Monday, February 4, 2013 at 7:43 am

Monday update: Not too much change today from yesterday. Therefore, felt an update was needed instead of a full new discussion. Inversions are in full effect in the lower valleys with cool air and poor air quality. Enough melting is occurring during the day that it provides enough moisture for fog to develop once the sun goes down. System will flatten the ridge on Wednesday before another Low drops down the west coast on Thursday. Yesterday I mentioned this might be a cut-off low, and indeed it is looking like it will be. This leads to very little confidence in timing and track of the system. If it tracks over Northern Utah, we could see a decent storm late Friday through Saturday. However, if it tracks to our west and south, as some models depict, we might see the short end of the stick in the Wasatch. Stay tuned and hopefully the models will zero in on a solution sooner rather than later.

There are a few signs out there of a possible pattern change during the third and fourth weeks of February. Is this the MJO-powered change we’ve been anxiously waiting for? … only time will tell . . .



It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Or for my international readers… it’s Sunday. Inversions have really started to develop with temps as warm or warmer at 11,000 ft as they are at my house at 4700′ this morning. Fog and haze have also already developed in the valleys. This should persist through mid-week but could start to get blown out of here as early as Wednesday.

We will have one system enter the Pacific Northwest and pass just to our north on Wednesday. This likely won’t bring any precip, but will weaken the ridge a bit and bring some breezes and clouds to the area that could at least partially rid us of the inversions. The stronger system is timing for late Friday into Saturday for Utah. There are still a lot of questions with this system as the GFS in particular, really tries to split the system and drop it down the west coast before ejecting it inland. Weather forecasters hate these types of systems as they are notoriously difficult to forecast both track and timing. If it ejects inland directly over the Wasatch, it would bring us at least moderate snow. However if it drops too far south, the best moisture could be confined to Southern Utah and Northern AZ. We’ll have to keep an eye on this over the next few days.

Unfortunately, I’m still seeing a return to ridging, at least temporarily, after next weekend. MJO continues to edge toward Phase 1.


P.S. Go Niners!

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  • Laura

    Go Niners! Is Thursday still looking like the best day to navigate i80 from CA to Park City?

    • Thursday is certainly the safe bet, but the system is looking slightly slower getting to Utah so you might be able to do Friday without too much issue.

      • Laura

        If I went early Friday, where would I be risking hitting weather along i80?

        • Well, the system will likely move into the Sierras on Thursday night. You’ll be driving faster than the system will be moving east. So you’ll likely start out in the system with snow in the Sierras and hopefully get out ahead of it for the most part on I-80 past Reno. Again, this is all likely to change as the models resolve their timing issues, so I’m just trying to give you the best guess possible.

  • Laura

    Totally appreciate your best guess and it sounds like the clearest roads would be Thursday. Thank you!

    • Laura, not too much has changed since the last update I gave you. But it looks like the storm will move into the Sierras Thursday evening. Not a huge storm by any means there, but could make travel difficult on Friday morning. You’d probably get here if you left on Friday, but the going might be slower. Thursday is definitely still the safe bet. Looks like we’ll have some good fresh snow for you!

      • Laura

        Thanks so much for the update. I am heading out early tomorrow (Thurs) morning to take advantage of the best travel day. Thanks for doing such a great job keeping us all informed on Wasatch weather. Looking forward to some fresh snow this weekend!

  • Anonymous

    Hello, I am planning a trip to Alta for 4 days in Mid-March. Are the conditions usually pretty good at this time of year? Also, are there still chances for big storms in mid-March. Any insight would be great. By the way, great blog you have…very informative.

    • Too early to know details that far out. Sorry. Usually March is a great time of year for skiing the Wasatch! Stay tuned…

  • Barry

    The latest 18z GFS run seems to be somewhat optimistic of late Friday’s storm.