At least it’s something…

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 7:17 am


Warm and dry weather will be the story this weekend with deteriorating air quality in the valleys.  Good weekend for BBQs in the ski resort parking lot.  A cutoff low will move in from the south middle of next week for a chance for high elevation snow showers.


High pressure is strengthening and we will be warming over the next few days.  Stagnant air in the valleys will result in worsening air quality.  We’ve been lucky to have clean air the last few days as we’ve had sufficient mixing of the low levels, but that won’t continue unfortunately.  The mountains will really see the big warmup with temps reaching 50F or higher at elevation by Monday.  if you want to get up into the clean air and work on your goggle tan, this weekend will be the time.  I’m bringing up the lawn chairs myself and having a little bbq out of the back of my car.  It’s not ideal to not have fresh snow, but gotta make the most of it.

We do have a chance for snow in the forecast for once.  Two days ago, I mentioned the monsoon-like cutoff low that would be transporting sub-tropical moisture into the area.  Well that system is still there.  It looks like it will move into Utah on Tuesday into Wednesday of next week.  You can see it move north into our area in this image of the Canadian GEM model:



It is certainly not a big system, and because of it’s tropical origins, the snow levels will be high.  I think above 8,000 feet is where the snow will fall, but I doubt it will be more than a few inches.  Who knows?  We could get lucky.  Some storm energy is better than no storm energy.  That’s for sure!

Long range:

It’s no secret that what we need is a major pattern change.  As some of you may be seeing if you look at the GFS, that operational model has been desperately trying to bring storms into the west coast beginning in early February.  Unfortunately, the GFS has a tendency to jump the gun on pattern changes.  The Euro is less optimistic about a pattern change.  It’s ensembles favor ridging through the first week of February.

A look at the CFSv2, which is designed for super long range forecasting shows us the following precip for the next 10 days:


Not much, the only precip for Utah is the meager amount generated by next week’s cutoff low.  Then the following ten days (Feb 2 -12):


Things are starting to pick up but still nothing major making it to Utah.  Then finally, the following 10 days (Feb 12 – 22):


Things get hot and heavy for the West, including Utah.  Now this is 20-30 days out from now.  I’ve made no secret over the last few years that I am not a fan of the CFS model, but I’m really having to dig to find good news.  I do think this pattern will break and we will start piling up snow again.  I’m just not sure when it will happen.  Obviously the sooner the better, but patience may be needed.  Keep the faith!


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  • Marcus

    The faith is needed. Climate change, rearing her ugly head yet again…

  • Craig

    Can you please explain the color coding on the long term precip map? Which colors represent what amount of precip? Thanks.

  • TR

    Will Tahoe ever be good again in our lifetimes ?

    • brig

      Tahoe and CA in general will have fewer and fewer solid years. Mammoth and Tahoe will have their 500+ inch winters, but I think we will see those become fewer and farther between in our lifetimes.

      On a brighter note. Maybe some corn snow in January in the Wasatch!

  • kim

    Thanks for keeping us informed and staying optimistic. Otherwise I would be moving to Japan for some Japow…

  • Scott Beal

    I love your writing and honesty – plus a little optimism – thanks for doing these reports


  • billy

    i agree with the above, I like your honesty and glass half full approach. I knows this is a Wasatch snow report but you did mention Mammoth so I’ll throw it out there, your thoughts on there next good storm?

  • Steve

    Wow, the 18Z GFS is not too encouraging.

  • Personally, I’m choosing to keep the faith and keep an optimistic view…for next winter. The ridging pattern seems to have settled in pretty well. Let’s hope for one more good dump in mid to late February before this season officially winds down.

    • Snowbird receives about half of its annual snowfall after Feb 1, so it would be silly to declare this season over. But I understand the discouragement.

      • Knew that, historically, Snowbird gets over half after Feb 1…learned that from your work here, as a matter of fact! But this season sure seems to be an outlier regarding historical patterns.

        Not so much declaring the season over as finally coming to grips with the idea of accepting and making the best of what we have on hand while we continue to hope for better. Enjoy that BBQ;)

  • Just want to say thanks. I manage the White Pine Nordic Center in Park City, UT and snow is an obsession since it’s also my livelihood. Your website is one of my daily stops when it comes to tracking weather. Keep up the good work and know that it is greatly appreciated.