Some good signs . . . ?

Monday, December 16, 2013 at 7:07 am


Ridge of high pressure will amplify this week off the Pacific Coast, forcing storms into AK and BC.   Starting on Thursday, a series of weak systems will drop south into the area and bring Utah a chance for snow on a few occasions between now and Christmas.


Valley inversions will persist through the week, with valley smog the result.  High country should be mostly clear so it’s a good week to get up on the hill, even if the snow conditions aren’t as fresh as they normally are.

Ridge will be amplifying this week, allowing another cold trough to drop out of western Canada on Thursday.  This system is splitting in all global models, so it will not bring a lot of snow to the area.  The main energy will be dropping to our west and then settling over Southern California before ejecting east through Arizona.   Northern Utah will be left with only a weak boundary cold front that will fire up a few light snow showers on Thursday.   Right now, I think accumulations in the high elevations will stay below 6″.   Probably in the 1-4″ range.

A new development in most current model runs is a second reinforcing system moving in late Saturday into Sunday.  As of right now, this system looks more consolidated with less splitting, so it could be a better snow producer than its predecessor.  We’ll have to watch this as we could be surprised with a little weekend pow.

Early next week, there looks to be the possibility of one more weak to moderate system on Tuesday (Christmas eve).   This is very early and a lot can, and probably will, change.  So don’t go telling your friends it’s going to snow on Christmas Eve quite yet 😉

What we really need for big storms in Utah is for the ridge in the Pacific to either retrograde westward and/or flatten.  Looking at the long range charts, it looks like we might finally see this around the end of the year, which could be the catalyst for a more significant pattern change.  Time will tell . . .

Overall, models look more promising than yesterday, so we are heading in the right direction.


In case you missed it on our Facebook page…  I was able to capture this image yesterday evening from my home office in Draper.  I took the picture through the window.  The inversion gave the moon a slight orange-ish hue.  The result was fairly spectacular if I do say so myself . . .

Moonrise Over Lone Peak

Moonrise Over Lone Peak

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  • Ryan C

    Bring it on snow gods. We deserve it.

  • Sam

    Hmmm… every winter forecaster is predicting a cold and snowy winter for the entire country. Seems like Utah is getting the cold without the snow? I know the NOAA map shows EC for perc and Temp for the country, but that’s lame. Anyone can say meh, equal chances of something… hahaha. Covering 90% of the country with Equal chances…. isn’t exactly predicting anything…

    Your Dec 10th post on SBDU1 SWE shows Utah behind last year and well below the 1981-2010 average.

    Besides the next storm, what’s the thoughts on the season from these early indications?

    Cold conditions setting the stage for a good winter? Cold without the smoke? 2 or 3 below average seasons, starts to move the average down at some point. Is this the year to maintain the average by coming in over it?

    Reading you for years, use you for my trip every year! great job WSF!!!!!

    Orlando Fl

    • Honestly, I think the above average cold and snow talk is more about generating hype and readership than it is about science. Fact of the matter is that there aren’t a lot of indicators out there this season that point one way or the other, which is was the CPC gives equal chances for so much of the country, though it might seem like a ‘cop out’.

      My personal feeling is that we’ll be drier than normal into January, then we’ll see a normal and hopefully above normal late January – April. But this is based less on science and more of just a hunch / law of averages.

  • Steve

    So any thoughts on amount of precipitation from thursday into monday? GFS looks like small storms, but am wondering how much could accumulate over 3-4 days if we are lucky.

  • AP

    great picture man