A tale of two models

Monday, January 6, 2014 at 7:06 am


Snow is on the way for later this week, although there is still a lot of uncertainty with regards to how much.   Until then, we have a day or two of mild inversions to deal with.


Inversion conditions exist with cool air trapped in the lower valleys this morning, now it’s just time for us to start adding smog to the mix.  The good news is that these inversions should start to blow out tomorrow before they get real bad.

The first in a series of three systems moves in tomorrow afternoon through Wednesday morning.  This first system is very weak and will likely bring mostly clouds.  The mountains of northern Utah should see some light snow but snow amounts should remain around an inch or two.

The next system is timing for late Thursday into Friday.  This system is decently strong in the GFS, but splits in the European model.  GFS has been more consistent and a good number of EC ensembles don’t split the system like its deterministic run — so hopefully we get a nice consolidated storm for the northern half of Utah.

The third and final system is timing for Sunday.  In the GFS, this system is more of a weak grazer with only light amounts of precip.  In the Euro, it is significantly stronger.

Because the each of the major models is stronger with one particular system, they both end of having comparable QPF totals for the next week:





Images courtesy of WeatherBell.com

Images courtesy of WeatherBell.com

Weekly QPF totals for the Wasatch currently look like 1-1.5″… which translates to about 12-20″ of snow for the upcoming week.   Hopefully we get the stronger scenario in both models and see more snow than that… but it’s equally possible (maybe more possible considering our luck lately) that we see the weaker scenario on both systems and receive less.   Time will tell.

One thing is for sure… if you’re cursing our luck in Utah lately, one look to our west at the Tahoe area will make you feel a lot better about our situation.  Tahoe currently sits at about 20-30% of normal snowpack.  I grew up in Tahoe with a family-owned business that was dependent on ski tourism.  It’s tough to see them suffering through a third consecutive dry year.   Yes, their seasons have been considerably worse than ours!  Let’s hope for both ours and their sake, that we see a good second half of the ski season along the west coast!  Unfortunately, the long range still shows a return of the Eastern Pacific blocking ridge next week.


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  • pen fifteen club co founder

    Should I drive up to jackson Thursday night?

    • Jackson should be good on Friday. But if things go our way, it could be good here too!

  • John

    Heading to Little Cottonwood January 18 – 22nd. Any way to predict how long an “Eastern Pacific blocking ridge” will persist?

    • Not really any way to know for sure. Right now, models have it sticking around through that period, but a lot a can change between now and then.

  • Jake

    By when are we suppose to get 12-20″ next week?

    • That 12-20″ isn’t a forecast yet… it is just what this morning’s model runs were projecting from about Wednesday-Monday. This is a cummulative total that won’t fall all at once.

      • Jake

        Ohh I see, thanks for everything

  • Steve

    Just read Bryan’s report for Tahoe weather in Open Snow. Ouch! Basically nothing in sight for them. Would be tough.