Looking for a change…

Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am


Unsettled nothwest flow will keep a threat for a few snow showers around through Christmas.  High pressure (and inversions) return after that, lasting through the rest of the week.


A few snow showers are around this morning as a moist northwest flow is over the area.  Not much in the way of dynamics to hold precip together, so I expect just a few snow showers off and on today.   The threat for snow showers will continue through Tuesday, but accumulations should not exceed an inch or two.

High pressure builds back in with an axis just off the West Coast, effectively shutting the door for storms.  Models still don’t show this ridge breaking down in the range of their operational runs (10 days).  Our only hope for precip will be weak systems dropping down the east edge of the ridge just before the New Year.

Long range:

If we are going to keep from falling too far behind normal, we are going to need the pattern to change soon.  The CFSv2 is a model used for long-range forecasting.  It’s still relatively new and hasn’t had all the kinks worked out yet.  But since we’re desperate, it’s worth looking at.  Here is what the CFS shows for total accumulated precipitation for the next five days:

Dec 22 - Dec 27

Dec 22 – Dec 27

Almost nothing except for far northern Utah which will be clipped in the northwest flow discussed earlier.

Now for the following 5 days:

Dec 27 - Jan 1

Dec 27 – Jan 1

Even worse…. All pacific storms being deflected well into British Columbia as we head into the New Year.

Now, the first 5 days of 2014:

Jan 1 - Jan 6

Jan 1 – Jan 6

Not much better for Utah, but you can see systems are starting to move into the PNW with precip stretching as far south as Northern California.

Finally, week 2 of 2014:

Jan 6 - Jan 11

Jan 6 – Jan 11

Much better… more significant precip moving into the Western U.S. and progressing inland toward Utah.

This should all be taken with a massive grain of salt.  But, in my opinion, what this means right now is that the next 2-3 weeks should be drier than normal with our only chances for snow being these weak systems dropping out of Western Canada.   However, there are indications in this model, as well as long range runs of the ECMWF, of a pattern change finally bringing more significant storms to the area in a few weeks time.  Not ideal… but at least it’s something.  Keep the faith.  We can make up deficits in snowpack in a hurry around here.  I’ll let you know when changes start to show up in the operational models.


All images courtesy of WeatherBell.com


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  • The climate prediction centers January forecast for Utah has precipitation ending up near normal so there is hope.

  • Laura

    Hi Evan, we are flying in from CA this evening. Any chance these snow showers could effect SLC airport negatively? I was there last Thursday when it shut down b/c of ice/snow combo and hoping we have better luck tonight 🙂

    • Hopefully I’m not getting back to you too late, Laura. Snow is very light in the valley and should not have an effect on your flight.

      • Laura

        Thanks Evan, Heading for the airport soon and hoping for smooth travels. Can’t wait to hit some of that fresh snow tomorrow!

  • james

    Snow in heber / Mayflower!!!

  • Steve

    Boy, the GFS is exceptionally grim. Dry as far as the eye/model can see.

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