No real need for a new discussion today as everything from yesterday is still valid. Pattern shift for the end of the work week still in the cards. As is often the case with these patterns, splitting is a concern. the EC and many GEFS ensembles split the system with most of our energy dropping to our west then south. No matter what, we should see colder temps and some snow, but the track and amount of splitting is critical in determining how much of each we’ll see.
Meteorology should have a term for this — the time period in which you’ve forecasted a storm and pattern change, and all you can do is anxiously wait and hope it comes to fruition. The good news is our pattern change for late next week (Dec 19-20) is still on track in all global models. The bad news is that we have to put up with fog, urban haze, and freezing valley temperatures for the next week before it arrives.
Fog is the new ingredient in today’s “inversion soup”, with much of the Wasatch Front socked in. It should burn off by mid-day, giving way to just the normal inversion haze (sarcastic “yay”). There is also a weak system moving through far northern Utah today. It is possible that enough wind could come through this afternoon to blow out some of the inversion, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Actually, on second thought, holding your breath might not be a bad idea. A stray snow shower in the northern mountains is not out of the question today. Inversions will re-build and strengthen again this weekend into early next week.
Next week’s trough still looks good in the global models. What we know for sure is that it is going to get colder in the higher elevations and that we should finally be rid of the valley haze by next Thursday. What we don’t know for sure, and probably won’t really know until Monday or Tuesday of next week, is how much snow the system will bring to the area. At this point, it could be any where from a few inches in the mountains up to a couple feet. My guess is it will probably be somewhere in the middle, but we’ll give the models time to figure that out. The other question is what happens after that as we head toward Christmas. Most models move the trough east of us next weekend, with some of those dropping another system into the area before the holiday and others keeping us dry through at least Christmas Day. This is very long range and a lot can change, but what we need is consistent systems, not another “one and done”, so I’m looking a bit farther into the long range than normal.
So a pattern change is coming — you should be skiing/riding powder again in a week. Hold tight!