Strong inversions will continue in the valleys. Mountains will be sunny, warm, and beautiful. Chance for a weak system Thursday. Still a good chance for a more significant change in the weather pattern by the end of the month.
No post yesterday… Usually when I don’t post an updated discussion I either see nothing new or I’m waiting for the models to zero in on a solution before I commit. Yesterday was a bit of both…
More of the same for the next few days…. Inversions have continued to strengthen and yesterday was the worst air quality yet in the lower valleys. Today shouldn’t be any better. Luckily, the mountains are beautiful and a great way to get your Vitamin D. Yesterday the groomers were skiing nicely and there were even some powder stashes remaining in the shady areas. While other areas are starting to get a little sun-baked, overall it could be much worse. I rode the chairlift yesterday with a gentleman from back east who raved about how he flew in Friday night and he was so amazed with how great the conditions are here. I’m not saying I agree with him, but he did put my powder snobbery into perspective. It’s all relative I suppose.
These stable conditions will persist until at least Thursday when it appears as if we’ll see a backdoor system drop down the east side of the ridge and cut-off from the flow. Cut-off systems are a forecaster’s biggest nightmare because they are so unpredictable. When i say “cut-off”, I mean it is no longer guided by the main jet stream. The jet stream usually acts almost like railroad tracks for storms, guiding them along on a specific course and at a specific speed. When a system goes “off the rails”, it becomes unpredictable. Such is the case with Thursday’s system. Add in the fact that the 3 main global models that I use regularly disagree completely, and we have very low confidence. However, the most reliable model, the ECMWF (Euro), has shown this system as being a direct hit on Utah for the past two runs. If this were to pan out, we’d have a shot to see several inches of mountain snow and a bit of valley mixing on Thursday into Friday, but again, I have very low confidence in this right now.
After this it looks like we return to dry and stable conditions for next weekend….
Confidence in some type of pattern change continues to grow for the end of the month. GFS and EC models have both been consistent for the last two days in showing systems breaking down the ridge around January 28/29. It looks like a door will open for a storm or two to move into the area thereafter. Still too early to know any details on how strong these systems will be or how long the storm door may stay open. In fact, at this point we are still 10+ days away, so confidence in the pattern change as a whole is still low. But, it’s certainly something to keep an eye on… perhaps even look forward to.
P.S. Go Niners!