All Eyes on the End of the Month

Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 7:04 am


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….

Long range:

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!  



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  • Kenny

    “I’m not saying I agree with him, but he did put my powder snobbery into perspective. ”

    I live in North Carolina, and a “bad” day out there is still more fun than a pow day here.

  • James

    Yeah Kenny. It’s still better than home! Now for that thurs storm….pretty please..

  • east coaster in total agreement…however, two or three sunny bluebird groomer days is enough for me…time to search for the stash…

  • Eric Lewis

    Hey this east-coaster is am getting ready to spend all of Feb. in LCC, for what is supposed to be the best ski vacation of my life! So yes I am depressed, but it is true, the WORST day I have ever had at Alta is better than the BEST day I have ever had at Stowe. Folks sometimes forget, even when it snows what we call “a dump” out east, you have at best a couple of hours before everything but the trees is skied out, and if you like to venture into east-coast glades (and they can be fun!) you had better be good friends with your local ski repair guy, because the snow base is never enough to prevent a fun run in the woods from treating your skis to a rock-and-branch massage. So I look forward to some blue-bird days in the canyon, and hope the turn in the weather suggested/predicted for the beginning of Feb. comes true. Otherwise, I am gonna follow the cagy locals through that little gap, up that little side-step, and into a mini powder stash!

    • Ha! The powder stashes I found yesterday indeed took some boot packing and side stepping. You’ll have an awesome month!

    • Hey Lewis I lived in Stowe for a couple seasons and I agree with you all the way. February is going to dump. Good month of choice.

  • Aaron

    Hi Evan! I have been following your site for a couple years now and really appreciate your work. Any chance you could take some time during this I uneventful weather pattern to explain your sources (or do you use a crystal ball/magic to predict your forecasts)?

  • Adrian

    As a poster from Down Under, yes it certainly is all relative.

    On behalf of a bunch of very excited Aussies heading for Snowbird 1st week Feb.

  • Benjamin Stefanou

    And they were still charging full price for lift tickets……

  • Adrian

    …and made the ambulance hire chains for the day, ‘just in case’.
    Evan, keep up the great work. Any chance if fixing that link above, so it’s shown in all it’s glory.

    • Don’t think I can embed the image itself. But I fixed the link. Looks like a bit of snow transportation was done to make that possible. #ShredUluru

  • Homeofthebestcornerback

    GO HAWKS!!!!!!

  • Steve

    Not thrilled with 00Z GFS. Hopefully an outlier and not a trend. But the storms are still in fantasy range so need to keep telling myself, one run of GFS not important this far out. Come on big storms!