A (very) little something…

Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 8:19 am


Mild and dry on Sunday and Monday.  A system moves in from the south on Tuesday into early Wednesday with a few inches of high elevation snowfall possible.  High pressure returns later next week.


Updates have been a little less frequent lately.  It’s a preservation of my own sanity type of thing…

Luckily, there’s at least a little storm to talk about in the short term.  It’s now been 13 days since our last storm of  >3″.   We’ve got a chance to get perhaps that much late Tuesday into early Wednesday.

Our high pressure to our west has been so strong that energy is either forced well north into British Columbia or southeastern Alaska, or it is pushed south into the tropical waters of the eastern Pacific.  One of these southern branch systems is forecasted to move up from south of Baja California over the next two days, eventually moving into the Mojave desert and pushing north into the Great Basin on Tuesday.  By Tuesday evening, this energy gets ejected eastward across Utah, bringing us a chance for some showers late Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

Because of the tropical origins of this system, the snow levels will start high.  A bit of cool air will eventually work its way into the system but only enough to drop snow levels down to 6,500 feet or so.  While there’s somewhat decent moisture, the dynamics in this system are lacking.  Right now it looks like it will be a struggle to get more than a few tenths of an inch of liquid in the high Wasatch:



The above map translates to this graph for the upper Cottonwoods:



Just a few inches of snow by 11am on Wednesday….  Probably significantly less in Park City if this were to verify.  The GFS is much more optimistic:



It shows about 5″ by 11am Wednesday, but shows snow continuing into the afternoon with almost 7″ total by Wednesday evening.  This optimism is uncharacteristic of the GFS, but perhaps the new, higher-resolution GFS will lead to forecasts closer to those of the 12km-NAM.   It will be a good test for the new GFS!

It feels strange to put this much time and effort into what would normally be considered just a small storm… but I guess we’ve reached that point.

Long range:

No sugarcoating it — the long range looks bad as high pressure will likely re-establish itself as we enter February.  The GFS was the optimistic model, but as expected, it is now delaying the pattern change.  The EC tries to sneak energy into the area by the end of the first week of February, but it’s long range ensembles still favor strong ridging redeveloping.  The CFSv2 keeps us on the drier-than-average side until middle of February before it turns on the hose, but I have very little faith in that.  Teleconnections are fairly stagnant so I don’t see anything that would be a major catalyst for change in the next two weeks.  The MJO was working its way toward favorable phases but as it approached it weakened and now looks like it will circle back into unfavorable phases before it strengthens again.

I know a lot of what I was just rambling about doesn’t make much sense, but the short summary is that there are very few signals at this time of a major pattern change.  At least not until we are well into February.  After about February 10th, all bets are off as that is about the extent of any semblance of reliability…. Let’s hope we see a Fab Feb and a Miracle March!


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  • Phil

    Well, at least your honest, which is what makes this site so awesome. What are the chances this dry pattern ending sooner than expected?

    Thanks for what you do!

    • There’s always a chance Phil! I’m just saying that the signals of a pattern change just arent there currently.

  • That GFS forecast is definitely the new 13km resolution which is great to see!

  • Steve

    Looks like the month I was there from 12/15 to 1/12 was the highlight of the season! To think how much I complained. I was thinking of coming back on 3/1 but the picture keeps getting bleaker and bleaker.
    Maybe you should bring the orangatang back, he knew how to make it snow!

  • hmm

    So head to AZ for powder???

  • Rob Corcoran

    Thanks for all you do on this site. I have forwarded it to at least 50 people this winter since finding it and everyone really appreciates the time you put into it. Let it snow!

  • Lloyd

    I was heading out 1/30 and just re-booked to the last week in February. Even the channel 13 and the channel 2 weather guys are scratching there heads by this years weather pattern. High pressure is one of the the main reasons i always purchase trip insurance, I’m not much of a meteorologist but i do have to agree with you that the high pressure and warm weather is there for a while. Really appreciate your time and honesty to post your findings.

  • brig

    Thanks for all the updates -both bleak and bright.

    This mass of warm air/high pressure just can’t be shook. No El Nino this winter, but we could see a favorable jet stream pattern late winter/early spring that could turn things around.

    Everyone sacrifice something to ULLR to get the storms cycles for the Fab February, Miracle March, and Awesome April.

    Or move to Revelstoke.

  • Marcus

    QPF for the next few days looks modestly positive. Nonetheless, we gotta get a pattern change soon to salvage the season.

  • Aaron

    where do u get those nam graphs?

  • East Coast Greg

    this whole thread makes me want to off myself. i have to live out here with DC with all the idiots and traffic and idiots. all i ask is for some pow once a year. is it too much?

    question….is it pointless to try to jump in a slot with PowderBird Heli on the 6th or 7th of Feb? will they be able to find anything soft and deep? I’ll call them to see but will probably get a more honest answer from here. went with them last year…but it was not steep, kinda lame. had more fun hiking and traversing with my buddy who works at snowbird.

    very respectfully,

    East Coast Greg

  • Tim Bowers

    Eff this noise. I’m heading to Powder Ridge (CT) to swim in 2-3′ of pow the next two days.

  • drew

    Will it snow this weekend ?

  • Steve

    Did Powder Ridge reopen? I thought they were out of business. That is where I learned to ski 50 years ago!

  • Tom

    Good morning Brother…. just curious to what the catlyst is for this dominant HP system over the west the last few years? Thanks for keeping us updated and maybe I’ll hit up Brighton for some soft night turns this tuesday nightb 🙂