Inversion Soup

Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:12 am

Saturday AM:

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!


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  • Ryan C

    Good news for this dry December. We still need a dump to really salvage the holidays though.
    It seems like the snow came just a bit too early this year.

    Judging by the changing patterns for the second half of December, it looks like we might have hope for a decent snowpack around or after New Years. Snow fingers crossed!

  • Chandler

    Evan, I saw in a comment yesterday that you said you think it might be below average through January then maybe pick back up in February and March. What makes you think that?
    Thanks, chandler.

    • I think it will stay drier than normal for at least the next few weeks because as of right now, there’s not much going on upstream that looks like it will shift the blocking pattern in the Eastern Pacific. So we’ll have to rely on storms dropping over the ridge into the area, not our best pattern for heavy snowfall. The CFSv2 seasonal forecasts have been consistent since late summer with showing a below normal start to the season with an above normal second half. It seems to have gotten the first part right, so let’s hope it has the other part right too. Mostly just a hunch, but anything can happen.

  • Michael

    Do you believe our weather patterns have fundamentally shifted WSF

    • No. I don’t. History shows us that 3 or even 4 consecutive below normal years is not out of the question. Occasionally dry periods happen. If there has been a broader change to our climate, 2.5 years is certainly not a large enough sample size to prove anything. I think there is a good chance we end up having a near normal season this year. It’s only mid december… Our snowiest months still lie ahead.

  • Limp Dumpman

    Based on my one month sample size I have concluded that it rarely snows in Utah and that Winters as we know them have come to an end and Al Gore was right all along holing himself up in his giant mansion

    • Swamp Crotchman

      Limp Dumpman, I guess you can have my name. Put it to good use young Jedi

  • James

    crossing my fingers that next week overperforms

  • Michael

    gfs does not look good for next week 🙁

  • Flaccid Phallusman

    Thanks for your insightful insightfulness Limp!

  • Gav

    How’s it looking for snow in the valley on Christmas Day?

  • Flaccid Phallusman

    How do the runs look bad? Only in one model does it show the split! I feel like you guys are negative Nellies. That James fellow calls for the end of the world daily!

  • james

    Wow look at the 10 day forecast on wow

  • james

    But still anything past 5 days there is always hope