Model watching

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 9:54 am

Wednesday AM update:

Quick update this morning for those of you tracking the models hoping for the best.  Good signs today overall… Warm ridge will persist through Saturday but will continue to get “dirtier” as it flattens (more clouds).  On Sunday, the first system of interest with impact the area. The GFS keeps snow levels relatively high and shows only a weak system.  Euro is a little stronger with a moderate storm and colder temps.  Both models show the best energy staying north of Utah so don’t expect anything major either way.  Best guess right now is up to 6″ in the northern Wasatch by Monday morning.

A ridge will then build ahead of the next trough for mid-week.  Models are coming into much better agreement with both the Euro and the GFS showing a potentially good storm for Utah.  Timing right now would be late Wednesday through Friday.  Let’s hope these trends hold as it would be very beneficial to our snowpack to get a good storm or two in here before the end of the month!



I’m not a huge fan of just sitting around waiting for the next model run to come in, but right now, there’s not much else to do.  At least we aren’t staring at a blank canvas–the models continue to paint the portrait of a pattern change this weekend.

Beautiful Spring conditions will continue through the end of the week with crusty mornings and soft afternoons on the hill.  It’s a dirty ridge, so occasional cloud cover, like we saw yesterday will filter in through the week.

Jet will start to sag this weekend… GFS yesterday was showing a potentially decent system for Sunday but has back off a bit on that.  Not surprised as I didn’t have much confidence in the GFS. GFS now shows a brush by system late on Sunday which makes more sense with the jet sagging south gradually.  Beyond Sunday, the GFS is all over the place, latest runs show undercutting of the amplified Pacific Ridge later next week.

The Euro on the other hand, brings in this weekend’s main disturbance a little farther south and a little stronger.  It moves through earlier than the GFS as well, mainly on Saturday night.  GEM is siding more with the Euro.  I think this weekend we will probably end up with a compromise solution of a light to moderate storm on Sunday.  Due to the warm air in place, snow levels will likely be well off the valleys.

Next week is still chaos in the models. GFS and Euro keep the area mostly dry from Monday-Wednesday.  GFS tries to undercut the ridge and combine that moisture with weak disturbances dropping down the back of the ridge.  To me, it doesn’t really make sense.  Euro has been more consistent and makes more sense in my opinion.  It ridges us up for 2-3 days before dropping a deep, cold trough into the area around Thursday of next week.  Canadian GEM has its own solution that actually keeps weak disturbances rolling through the area through the beginning of next week before the larger trough moves in middle/late next week.  Right now the GEM is the outlier model.

Weather is defined by patterns, and like I mentioned, the GFS just feels out of sync to me right now.  It’s run to run consistency has been poor and seems chaotic, which usually means it’s ensembles are disagreeing.  Sure enough the GEFS ensemble spaghetti plots show the pattern all over the place next week, which is probably confusing the parent model.  Sometimes it’s easier to decipher with the naked eye than it is to let the computer try to make sense of it.  When I looked through the spaghetti plots, I see an overall storm track that actually looks a lot more like the Euro.

Putting all this data together and finding common ground is tricky, but what I extract from all of this is that we will have a preliminary system this weekend (probably Sunday the 17th) that will open the door for a more progressive pattern that could usher in a larger, colder system for middle to late next week.  Beyond that, there is potential for more systems to follow, but at this point it is just too early to say with any confidence.  Let’s hope March roars out like a lion!


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23 thoughts on “Model watching

  1. Anonymous

    Hi WSF. Great analysis of the models. Really insightful. Are the latest runs still showing promise for storms next week? Thanks

    1. wasatchsnowcast

      Yes.. Euro backed off a bit on the idea of a deep trough but the GFS is starting to look better. We’ll just have to wait and see if they can agree for once.

      1. Anonymous

        Thanks WSF. Much appreciated! I thought, however, that the Euro is generally more accurate in the longer range and that you were not placing much confidence in the GFS today.

    2. wasatchsnowcast

      Yep, generally speaking the Euro performs better. So overall, not thrilled with today’s developments. Don’t get me wrong, the Euro still looks OK, just not as good as it looked this morning.

      1. Anonymous

        I know its still a bit far out, but do you think there is a possibility that the Wasatch will not see any decent snow next week?

      2. Anonymous

        Also, the Canadian model seems to look okay. Are you encouraged by this or do you place less emphasis on its runs?

    3. wasatchsnowcast

      There’s definitely a chance that we won’t see decent snow. Models are really struggling… which means that we could get anywhere from nothing to a couple feet next week. Really tough to know.

  2. Anonymous

    Hi WSF, Is the 12Z Euro looking discouraging to you? Not sure if I am looking at this run correctly. Any insight would be great.

  3. Anonymous

    WSF, I just read this statement on Wasatch Weather Weenies: “The models suggest a gradual cooling trend after Thursday, but we’re only brushed by some weaker systems through the middle of next week. Thereafter, the forecast suggests the dice are loaded for below average precipitation through March 25th.”-What do you make of this? This seems really disappointing for some good snow next week!

  4. Anonymous

    It seems impossible for anything good to happen in terms of snowfall. The ridge is so persistent that it seems like there will not be a big storm for the rest of the season. I think the winter is over. Its frustrating to get hopes up only to see the annoying ridge dash any hopes for some good snow!!!!

  5. Anonymous

    Hi WSF. The latest runs of the models don’t look that promising to me, especially the 12Z Euro. Have you ever seen a March this bad in terms of snowfall for the Wasatch?

  6. Anonymous

    Hi WSF,
    Any thoughts on the 12Z GFS today. Did not look great to me but I am not sure if I am looking at it correctly? Thanks!

      1. Anonymous

        Oh…okay. I was not sure if it was looking good for the late-week storm. Do you think the mid-week storm might deliver some really nice product?

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