Occasional showers and mild temps this weekend. Snow levels will be running high, near 8,500 feet at times. A cooler system will bring a chance for snow late Monday into Tuesday morning. High pressure and warm, dry weather return for late next week.
The Cascades and Northern California are currently getting hit by the first of two strong systems. Each with an associated atmospheric river. They definitely need the precipitation, but snow levels will be running high. Likely above 8,000 feet around Tahoe. Unfortunately for us, we get warm temps as well with much less precipitation. The trajectory of the AR forces most precipitation well to our north and Northern Utah should only see a few scraps this weekend with occasional showers and snow levels around 8,000 feet, perhaps a tad higher at times.
A second system moves in on Monday… this system will actually send a weak cold front into the area that will carry some precipitation and cooler air. Snow levels should drop down to 6,000 feet or so Monday afternoon and evening with snow showers into early Tuesday morning. This event looks relatively small with models backing off on QPF further since yesterday. Latest runs would suggest under 6″ for most of the Wasatch thru Tuesday:
Hopefully we see models trend back upward, but I’m not optimistic.
Late next week, high pressure takes total control and we go back to being mostly sunny and warm.
The strong ridge should extend beyond mid-month. For awhile, models had the ridge retrograding enough to drop a trough into the area. Then they tried to undercut it. Now both the GFS and EC ensembles seem to show very little hope of breaking it down through about February 20th….
Here is the CFSv2 precip anomaly forecast for Week 1 and Week 2:
You can see the well-above average precip for the northwest this week before the mega ridge dries out the whole western US next week.
By week three (Feb 20-26), however, the CFS suggests some hope:
It shows above average precip along the west coast, this time extending inland to Utah. I don’t trust the CFS model much, but right now I’m desperately searching for good signs and it’s one of the few I can find.
The MJO, which has been a non-factor the last few winters, is still just meandering in a weak phase 7 or 8. Forecasts do call for that to slowly moved toward Phase 1 over the next two weeks, but who knows… Phases 1-4 are the good phases for Utah that often correlate to extended periods of active weather. We have yet to see the MJO in those phases this winter.
I’m trying to remain optimistic but it is becoming increasingly difficult. The skiing isn’t bad if you know where to go, especially on the upper part of the mountains. Many comments and pictures of great turns being made recently. Still, this is a snow forecasting site… and most of us live for the deep and fresh. Hopefully the limited storm energy we see over the next few days provides us cooler temps and more moisture than expected. Hopefully the ridge breaks down before the end of the month and sets us up for a Miracle March. Hopefully my sanity holds until then… Hopefully… Hopefully…