Inversion conditions persist in Utah with dominant high pressure overhead. A weak system on Thursday will bring a few clouds and breezes with cooler temps in the high elevations. High pressure returns this weekend. Pattern change possible around the end of January.
Short term and mid-range details are rather boring. High pressure will dominate the area with more of the same. A weak system is riding down the Rockies on Thursday but it has so little moisture with it that I suspect all we’ll see is some clouds and some cooling. Can’t rule out a stray high elevation snow shower…
High pressure returns for the weekend and through the first part of next week.
Unfortunately, the long range (7+ days out) is where all the action is still. GFS and EC both still in agreement that we’ll have a pattern change at the end of the month. Right now our first chance for a system is probably the 30th or 31st. The first system to break through a ridge is almost always torn apart and this is a particularly strong ridge, so my feeling is the first system will be rather weak. Hopefully it will pave the way however for stronger storms as we head into the first week of February.
Yesterday we had several comments from people who are freaking out about the latest runs of the GFS. I’m glad that you are looking at the model runs, as it can be a lot of fun (for weather nerds like myself) to track, however, there are a few things you should take into account. First, the GFS is not a high-performing model relative to the EC. It struggles mightily beyond 7 days — so while I may take note of what the GFS is doing, I put most of my faith into the Euro. Second, the precipitation parameter is garbage in the long range. To begin with, it is one of the lowest resolution models even within 7 days and does a poor job for picking up Wasatch topographic influences. I get the feeling a lot of people just use the precip param and get concerned when they don’t see a lot of “green” over Utah. My suggestion is to look at GEFS ensemble heights if you are looking beyond 7 days. That will give you a better feel for the overall pattern. Third, don’t get too excited. Model runs change. That’s what they do. If you get too happy with one good run, you’ll get depressed with the next run. It’ll drive you crazy — trust me, I know from experience. So look at the models, but try to take in the big picture and trends rather that one run of one model… and don’t trust the GFS operational run beyond 7 days…. 😉
Ok, with that said, here is what is actually going on. The pattern looks like it will change. That does NOT mean we are guaranteed big storms… but it does mean that the door will open for that to potentially occur. Here is a GFS ensemble average of height anomalies for the upcoming period. First, here is today:
This is the entire northern hemisphere. Notice the anomalously high heights over the western US and Canada and the very low heights in the East, which is responsible for another cold outbreak for them.
Now, here is the same image for Feb 1.
Big change! Heights are actually below average in the West now.
Finally, February 6:
The West Coast trough becomes even more pronounced.
Again, we are too far out to forecast big storms quite yet, but it does seem likely that the overall pattern will be changing. Hopefully that will lead to storminess but there are no guarantees. At this point, any change is good change in my book.
Keep the snow dances going and wash them cars!