So you’re saying there’s a chance . . .

Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:58 am


High pressure will keep the area dry this weekend and into next week with strong valley inversions.  Small chance for a few showers later next week.  Pattern change possible before the end of the month (details below).


High pressure is dominating the area creating warm and sunny conditions in the mountains with cool and smoggy conditions in the valleys.  This will continue through the weekend and into next week.

Over the next week, the ridge is going to continue to amplify along the West coast.  While this will keep us totally blocked from systems for now, it may eventually open the door to snow again by the end of the month.  While amplification might sound like a bad thing, and it generally is, in this case it is going to cause the the ridge to become stretched as it expands north toward Alaska.  As the ridge becomes stretched, it becomes less resilient to systems moving across the Pacific.  The systems “pinch off” the ridge and move under the areas of highest pressure.  This is called undercutting. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a classic undercutting of the westerlies.

Here is an animated GIF of the ECMWF model that you can actually see the ridge building over the area then elongating and getting stretched over Alaska before finally getting undercut at the end of January….



The first effect we’ll see of this undercutting will be a weak system for next Thursday or Friday (Jan 23/24).  At best we’ll just see a few showers from this system and confidence in the first breakthrough systems is always low, but it does show up in all models so we’ll keep an eye on it.  The main breakthrough of the westerlies happens after January 27 which is conveniently just beyond the scope of the deterministic model of the EC.  However, the EC control run and GFS fantasyland runs all support this idea.   This is all very far out and we’ve seen these pattern changes fail to materialize as we got closer, so don’t get too excited yet.  However,  I’m saying there’s a CHANCE!



…which is more than I could have said the last few days.


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18 thoughts on “So you’re saying there’s a chance . . .

  1. Eric

    Great gif for that little morsel of hope your giving us. (Now to repaint my car since I washed all the old paint off) anf then wash it again

  2. Josh

    Nice D and D quote I like the humor and optimism. I have a funny feeling February is going to be FUN! With a slight chance of sun.

  3. Scot Chipman

    The new February outlook is out from the climate prediction center. Check it out at From the looks of their forecast they are thinking more of the same for February with a ridge centered over the west coast. In this pattern Utah would generally less frequent and small storms riding over the top and down the backside hitting mainly northerly Utah at times. LETS HOPE THIS IS WRONG!!!

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Let’s hope! I don’t blame them. With no strong signals of things changing in the big picture, I don’t blame them for forecasting more of the same. We can only hope the upcoming pattern change actually occurs and sticks around for awhile.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Last pattern change did come, unfortunately it only lasted for about 5 days. Now we have another chance for a pattern change… “chance” being the key word. It’s the best we can do for now.

  4. Steve

    So, WSF, any thoughts on last 2 runs of GFS and/or the Euro. the GFS seems to have slowed down any precip getting into utah (not counting the sprinkles next week). Jus twonderin what the other models are doing.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      On the “Resources” page you can find a link to NOAA Model Guidance at the bottom. That will give you the GFS and the NAM and a few others. A quick google search for the Canadian GEM model will find a site or two for you to check. Euro (ECMWF) is much more protective of their data and therefore much harder to find a free, easy-to-read version of their model.

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