Not a lot has changed from yesterday’s discussion. Mostly dry weather will continue through the week with inversions holding strong in the valleys. A weak grazing system on Tuesday may increase clouds a bit and a weak front will try, unsuccessfully, to mix out the valleys.
High pressure will re-establish itself later in the work week. They next system will drop into the area next weekend. Models disagree on exact timing and strength, but it does look like at least some fresh snow is likely for next weekend. Beyond that, GFS is full on board with the pattern change with the upper jet taking aim at the central west coast and Utah. The EC and GEM keep the jet farther north with only grazing systems through the 8th of January. Either way, it looks like a pattern change and we should have better chances for storms as we head toward the middle of January.
For those of you wondering about our snowpack, here is a great map of the average snowpack for each river basin throughout the West:
You can see we are about 75-80% of normal in the Wasatch. The farther north and east you go, the better you are faring. Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascades have seen the worst of it this season as the ridge has been right over head for them. They stand at 25-40% of normal. Let’s hope the pattern change helps all these number as we head into 2014.
High pressure will continue to dominate over the next ten days, with mostly sunny skies and only occasional systems bringing the chance for light high elevation snow. Signs of a pattern change between Jan 5 – 10 continue to grow stronger.
High pressure ridge is firmly established along the west coast still. Occasional weak systems will ride over the ridge and drop through the northern Rockies. One of these systems is moving through today and is dragging a weak cold front through. Little or no precipitation is expected, but we may see a few more clouds, breezes, and slightly cooler high elevation temps than we saw yesterday. The front will help to mix out valleys a bit, but the inversion will likely still hold strong in the lower basins.
Another weak grazing system is timing for New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day. Yesterday the GFS had this system bringing a few inches of snow to northern Utah, but today the GFS went toward the EC and now shows almost all energy missing us to the north. A few snow showers will still be possible.
Yet another weak grazing system is in the cards for next weekend, but again, at this time it looks like it will largely miss us. However, light snow will again be possible.
The main feature of interest is a trailing system for about Monday, January 6. The GFS, EC, and GEM all show this storm finally digging deep enough to bring more significant snow to the entire Western US. This is almost 10 days out which is stretching the limits of our forecasting abilities, so a lot can change between now and then. Today’s 00z EC was significant because it was the first time it showed anything other than full-on ridging in 10-day range.
GFS continues to show this same system for the 6th with the possibility of moisture undercutting the ridge thereafter. It will be interesting to see how this all evolves and if we’re able to totally break down the ridge and open the storm door for an extended period. Of note, CFS long-range model still showing more significant precipitation around mid-January.
Stay tuned . . . WSF