Pickin’ Up the Tempo

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 7:21 am


Snow showers will develop later today with steadier snowfall possible overnight.  Accumulations should be light with 1-4″ above 7,000 feet.   Another system, focusing mostly on Southern Utah, is likely to impact the area Friday/Saturday.  Additional storm energy possible next week.


After weeks of virtually nothing in the forecast to talk about, we now have three separate systems of note in the next 10 days.  Now, if we weren’t coming off the heels of an extended dry period, this would be nothing special.  But we are, so it does feel at least refreshing to be forecasting snowfall again.

Tuesday-Wednesday:  The first system moves in today.  The main energy from this is moving in from the south a la monsoon fashion.  It is moving into the Great Basin currently and should start pushing east through Northern Utah later this afternoon.  There isn’t a ton of moisture or dynamics associated with this system so totals won’t be all that high.  Snow levels will also start at 7,000 feet or higher today and gradually lower to 6000 feet or so tonight.  Right now I think we are likely to be at 1-4″ of fresh snow by tomorrow morning.  With a little luck, hopefully we can get surprised!

Thursday:  A break day.

Friday-Saturday: Another, stronger system works its way north from Mexico into the desert Southwest.  This one looks like it will focus more on Southern Utah and Arizona as well as the San Juans of Colorado and mountains of New Mexico.  Northern Utah will likely at least see a little bit, but our amounts up north are very dependent on the track of this system.  It will likely only bring a few more inches to the Wasatch.  But we’ll keep you updated over the next two days.  Heading south and east is your best bet if you want to go powder chasing this weekend.  Silverton, Durango, Wolf Creek…?

Sunday-Monday:  These look to be break days again as the pattern undergoes a temporary shift.

Tuesday-Wednesday (February 3-4): A moist west or northwesterly flow could develop.  Yesterday’s 12z ECMWF was very optimistic and got my attention.  Today’s 00z was not quite as good.  The GFS is also showing moisture streaming into the region during this period.  Needless to say, there are still a lot of questions about this potential system.  It does not look major at this time but at least it’s something.  Better than being totally dry!

Long range: 

Looking deep into the models I still see more signals favoring west coast ridging than anything else.  What we need is a few weeks of constant storm energy and with our current pattern that just won’t happen.  Hopefully a major pattern change develops sooner rather than later.  At least we have some weak systems in the interim.

Other news:

Watching East Coast storm coverage on CNN this morning, their resident meteorologist was touting the new upgraded GFS as the clear winner in forecasting this storm.  He went as far as to say that we can now stop using the Euro.  Curious, I went back and looked at yesterday’s 12z run of the ECMWF and it looks extremely close to what fell overnight, with the highest totals in and around the Boston area with half that amount in the New York metro area.  The upgraded GFS is still unproven and hopefully it will help us forecast snow better, but right now I still put the most trust in the Euro model — despite what Mr. CNN says.   Also, the drivers of significant snowfall on the East Coast are very different from those in the intermountain West, so it’s not a like-for-like comparison.  It will be interesting for the rest of the winter to see how our shiny new GFS performs.


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23 thoughts on “Pickin’ Up the Tempo

  1. Craig

    I’m making the trip out to Utah from Scotland on the 20th Feb so I will be following your updates religilously for the next few weeks. I’m praying to the powder gods because a ski trip to Utah without any powder would be a sin!

  2. CT

    Hi Evan – thanks for all you do for us! Know January is much of the time a bust – but just curious where this month ranks as far as the lowest January snow fall totals on the all time chart? Does 20 inches with a few more days left & a minor weather event on the way get us in record territory?

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Let’s see what these systems this week do, then in early Feb I’ll do a look to see where it ranks. Sound good? My guess is toward the bottom, but I know there have been worse. That mid-month storm saved us.

  3. Steve

    I am sitting In my home in Fairfield Connecticut because the entire state and my office were shut down due to this epic blizzard . I just measured 6 inches And the snow is beginning to wrap up. Noaa Predicted 18 to 24 when I went to bed last night at 11 PM. I have never seen such a miss and disaster with regard to weather predicting. Evan needs to predict for the entire country! What a joke

  4. Jack in Boston

    Watching 2+ feet accumulate outside my window in Boston (it’s dumping here) while our flights to SLC tomorrow are scrambled for our annual Utah ski trip. Feel like Mother Nature is mocking us! Thanks for providing at least a glimmer of hope for this week.

  5. Shawn

    I think the new GFS will be more accurate for east coast, west seems to always mirror the euro better in my 15+years of snow fall analysis (used to do snow report for CB). FWIW farmers almanac called for below average snow for west (specifically UT + CO) in Jan, and good snow in Feb. Not that I follow this religiously these days with global warming but still.
    Steve, the weather was not 100% on the totals in east/mid Atlantic because so much energy was coastal the further inland the less snow. My brother further east in New Hampshire is getting pummeled right now.

  6. chance

    So with this big blocking high pressure over the west for the majority of this winter, where are all the storms being pushed dumping the snow at? Southern alaska? Someone somewhere is getting womped!!

    1. AK refugee

      Southeast Alaska is getting slammed with precipitation. It’s been a record year there, which is saying something. Unfortunately for skiers, it’s pretty much all been rain to a very high elevation. im thankful for what were getting, because I could be at home getting soaked and cold trying to go boating

  7. Floyd Teter

    Mr. CNN did positively gush about the upgraded GFS this morning, didn’t he? Personally, I’m with you — I’d chose to have multiple models and draw my own conclusions. Just makes sense.

    1. Wasatch Snow Forecast Post author

      Yes, it seems like if you’re a man of science, you’d understand that one storm is not exactly a large sample size. Perhaps CNN is not on the forefront of the scientific community… But I digress…

  8. NYC Snowboarder

    Not ture, NYC only got 6″ after they predicted 24-36″ The weather people here in NYC have egg all over their face. This will go down as the biggest bust storm in NYC history with the entire City being shut down for 6″ of Snow. The Mayor has some explaining to do.

    1. Todd

      The Mayor in his attempt to scare the people that this storm (because of global warming) not Mother Nature shut the entire city down costing the city over a billion dollars in lost revenue. He just told the citizens after the dusting, they should still stay home. Talk about desperate measures.

  9. Shawn

    Having grown living and skiing in VT the farmers almanac is first reference for winter patterns, but this guy does a pretty good weather blog/ quality analysis, similar to this one, for VT and more specifically mad river valley called The Single Chair Weather Blog in case any other weather buffs are interested.

    1. NYC Snowboarder

      I need a Killington weather blog, but Mad River will have to do 🙂 Thanks for that info

  10. Tim

    Yeah, I never saw a model run where NYC was to get more than 15″. Only the GFS SREF plumes called for up to 19″ but never did I see any model (GFS, CMC, Euro, NAM) went with anything that enabled the NWS to go with 18-24″, let alone 24-36″ like they did twice as we got closer to zero hour. NYC was the western edge of the heavy/not heavy accumulations and any east-west shift of 10-15 miles in storm track would result in either getting less than 1′ or more than 2′ but when none of the model runs called for anything greater than 15″, then why double it? NYC NWS sure are dumb.

  11. Aaron Rice

    I grew up in MA and these types of storms were my source of winter excitement. I would religiously read/watch Henry Margusity of Accuweather.com as I now religiously read this blog. While I generally dislike accuweather, Henry’s blog is great!

    He does a great job explaining in his post how finicky these coastal nor’easters can be. 50-100 miles east vs west in the track of the storm can determine if Philly, NYC, or Boston gets hammered. The forecasts are all being put out a day or two before the storm even forms on the coast so predicting where it will go to that accuracy is extremely difficult. Here is a link to his great and funny vlog, very much worth a watch:


  12. Fred

    I remember in Philly in the 99-01 range and WINTER STORM BOB was coming!!! Emptied all the milk/bread/eggs etc in the grocery stores. Then we got a couple inches. Happens, still SO much about the weather that is a “guess” or assumption based on prior patterns.

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