Something Real

Friday, November 7, 2014 at 7:30 am


Ridge will keep us dry through the weekend.  A cold front will cool us down on Monday.  A chance for high elevation snow by late next week!


I gotta tell you.  Forecasting during dry periods is painful.  Speculatively looking for good signs in the long range is no fun.  It’s much more enjoyable to forecast something real in the next ten days that doesn’t rely on hope and prayer.  Today’s the day that speculation becomes reality.  More on that in a minute…

For now, we’ll have warm and mostly sunny weather through the weekend.  Cold front drops down the Rockies on Sunday night into Monday.  Northern Utah will get clipped with some cooler air and some clouds but most snowfall should stay north and east of us.  Here is the forecasted precip for the region from today through Wednesday 11/12:



As you can see, Utah is high and dry for the most part with any and all precipitation staying just to our north and east.

If the forecasting models were in a classroom together, the ECMWF (Euro) would be the straight-A student. The GFS would be the son of rich parents with all the pedigree and expectations but also a frustrating inability to meet those expectations — therefore always trying to copy the ECMWF’s work in order to get into a respectably college.  The Canadian GEM, on the other hand, would be the ADHD student that occasionally shouted out a really good idea.   I use this analogy only because it seems every year the ECMWF performs better while our own country’s GFS falls farther behind.  Example below…

Yesterday, if you remember, the ECMWF had latched onto an idea for two straight runs of undercutting the amplified west coast ridge with a bit of moisture which streamed into Utah. It came out of nowhere, but as I said yesterday, it deserves our attention because the EC is the gold standard in models.  I said, “A few more runs of each model and we should be able to get a better sense for whether this potential pattern shift is real or not.”   Sure enough, after two more runs of the Euro and 4 more runs of the GFS, both models agree that late next week we’ll develop a northwest flow of undercutting moisture that will give us a chance for snowfall.  The EC is much more organized than the GFS right now, but both models bring a fairly extended period for at least light snowfall.   It’s far too early to say this will be something significant, but it’s certainly better than the nothingness we’ve been seeing in models lately.

Here is the total precip through the end of the 10-day operational:




Long range:

Forecast models are a bit confused right now… 06z GFS is probably getting a lot of people excited as the operational model shows a series of storms moving into the region as we move toward Thanksgiving.  GFES ensemble suite, however, isn’t quite so optimistic and tries to build ridging back along the west coast.  The majority of EC ensembles also favor ridging continuing, however an increasing number of them are moving toward a stormy pattern.  We could be just witnessing a slow trend in the long range models toward developing a stormy pattern…. For now let’s just temper the expectations so as not be too disappointed.

Also of note, former Super Typhoon Nuri is forecasted to re-strengthen as an extratropical system in the Bering Sea.  This has many meteorologists fascinated as it was at one point forecasted to be one of the strongest extratropical systems ever.  Eventually Nuri will weaken and perhaps get swept up in the westerlies where it could have an effect on our weather down the road… worth watching.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .
  • For weather forcasing and commentary on our beloved Wasatch front; we have the Gold Standard right here! I know I echo this sentiment for many of the snow junkies that religiously follow WSF. Just talking with a couple buddies last night. The unanimous consensus was we dont even bother looking to NWS or other outlets for the real deal perspective on whats brewing for northern Utah. Thanks for your hard work and thoughtful analysis. We can always rely on WSF for the historically most accurate prognosis- good, bad or ugly.

    Appreciative fan and supporter Tom

    • Thanks! NWS is a great resource, its just not their job to forecast specifically for snow junkies ;-). I’d also advise using the UAC for any backcountry activities.

  • Steve

    Ditto. Really appreciate your commentary.

  • Terry

    Agreed. Group of us from Ohio follow religiously to plan our annual pilgrimage and then to build excitement as we wait for the week in Feb or March and finally once on the ground use 1st thing every morning to plan the day.

  • As a fellow weather junkie that grew up snow skiing in Utah I also appreciate all of the time and effort that Evan Thayer puts into his accurate weather forecasts. As a self taught weather forecaster Evan Thayer is a better forecaster than some of the meteorologist I graduated with at the University of Utah. I do want to say that many of the meteorologists who work for the local National Weather Service in Salt Lake City are very knowledgeable and amazing forecasters, a few not so much. One thing to realize is the focus of the National Weather Service is to protect life and property, many of the forecasts they provide cover large areas that see much different weather. If the National Weather Service was to shift its focus to providing snow forecasts for us skiers they would do an excellent job.

  • Dante

    Passion and a way with words …. Great work WSF

  • Patrick

    You guys are going to love the 12z GFS, it has turned significantly wetter. Let’s hope it holds, I’m hoping to get some turns in for Thanksgiving week!

  • Scotch Guardman

    Dear Skip Chapman,

    Nobody cares about your degree. Wasatch Snow forecast doesn’t need your endorsements or backhanded compliments. Please focus on your own forecast.

    Your friend,

    Scotch Guardman

  • Still anonymous I see…..

  • Sam

    HA! A Weather fight!

    WSF Evan

    I agree with everyone else, you are awesome! I read you blog religiously from Florida! We make an annual pilgrimage to Utah, we are the Church of Powder day Saints 😉

    Thanks for the awesome info, I’ve learned a lot about the white smoke I come to visit!

    Looking at booking our trip now (For February), your good news always gets me hyped!


  • Steve

    Evan, any thoughts on Joel Gratz’s blog today saying long range forecasts don’t show a break in the dry/warm pattern until at least Thanksgiving? Just hoping Joel has no clue. (Just kidding). But still of course hoping he’s wrong.

    • Yeah, EC and GEFS ensembles arent exactly favorable right now. But I’m trying to focus on the next 10 days and hope they come around.

  • Crack Pipeman

    Dear Crotch Stinkman,

    How dare you make fun of Scotch Guardsman’s name like it doesn’t exist or is an alias for someone. Scotch Guardman does exist and he is very sensitive about his name. I’ll have you know he is twice as good at water skiing as you are. Its clear to me that you don’t care about Scotch or the troops.

    You should be ashamed of yourself,

    Crack Pipeman

    • Feel free to continue to bash me if it makes you feel better, you may want to look into my water ski credentials a little closer if you want to bash them. I would like you to explain why you think I don’t care about the troops? My dad was a Marine A6 pilot who is still missing in Vietnam.

      • Stick Fetchman

        Dear Arm Crankman,

        I was unaware that water skiers had “Credentials”. I just thought it was something that people did in 80s summer camp movies.

        your admirer,

        Stick Fetchman

  • Crank Bastardman

    all i can say is boooo. Love the site and have it bookmarked to reference every year throughout the season, just getting nervous that somehow Utah will be missed again by the big snows. Last year was bad and this is starting to look worse!!!

  • Steve

    So, Evan, not to be a pest, but the last 3 runs of the GFS have looked promising. So are you saying that because the ensembles are not so good, that these 3 runs don’t mean much unless it continues to show the precip over quite a few runs. I like following the weather for a number of reasons and am just trying to understand the forecasting end of it a bit better. Or, at least better than I do now.

    • Not that they dont mean anything, just that I would wait for more ensemble support. As well as support from the EC. Late next week looks good, after that is still a crapshoot but like i said, things are trending our way. Remember that Joel and i wrote these this morning when there was only 1 good run of the GFS operational model.