The Shift

Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 6:53 am


Warm and mostly sunny through this weekend.  BIG changes coming on Monday with cold air and snow showers.  Further changes to the pattern possible late next week.


We continue to remain under a strong ridge of high pressure through the weekend with warm and dry conditions.  A slight cool down on Sunday with clouds increasing.

BIG changes coming in for President’s Day Monday.  Models in fairly good agreement still that we will get much colder air with snow showers.  Most solutions keep precipitation fairly meager, generating only a few inches for most mountain locations.  But still, it will feel like winter again for the first time in 6 weeks.  Here is the model projected QPF, notice how the system drops down the Continental Divide and keeps the best moisture along the spine of the Rockies:



If for some reason the models shift their current thinking and the ridge sets up a bit farther east, it could push the precip and coldest air farther east and we may get nothing.  Conversely, if they shift the ridge farther west off the coast, it could allow more cold air and moisture to enter the area and would set us up for a President’s Day treat:



Right now I think the most likely scenario is the one models are consistently showing right now.  Very cold. Snow levels dropping to all valley floors and perhaps a few inches of mountain snowfall.  It will also allow resorts that need to make snow to blast the snowguns around the clock on Monday and Tuesday.

Shortwave ridging will dry us out and warm us up a bit middle of next week.  The pattern will have shifted so it won’t be the same ridiculously warm high pressure we’ve been seeing.  This looks to be relatively short-lived as most models and ensembles advertise another push of cold air down the backside of the west coast ridge late next week into next weekend (Feb 20-22).  It’s early to get into details but it looks like this push could be even colder with more moisture to work with and drop farther west into the Great Basin.

The last week of February looks interesting.  For the past 6 weeks I’ve been diligently studying long range signals to find chances for pattern changes.  Usually out of the 10-15 different tools I use for long range forecasting, 90% of them at any given time have been negative.  Right now, I’d say that well over half of them have turned positive.  We’ve got teleconnections that have or are forecasted to flip (WPO/PNA)… The MJO may be working its way toward favorable phases…. and most importantly, long range models are showing changes in their ensembles.  It’s way too early to get excited because it perfectly possible that the good signs start trending back the other way, but at this point I’m thinking that we are going to gradually undergo a large-scale pattern change between now and the end of the month.  Should be fun to watch… After all, we are already seeing a pattern shift early next week.  Now all we gotta do is turn that into a long-term pattern change…  We need a Miracle March and the first step in getting that is ridding ourselves of this awful pattern.   Keep the faith!


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  • Jamba

    Awesome! Thanks for your hard work in providing these updates. Looking forward to my trip to SLC in March.

  • brig

    Getting better. Maybe someone put a quarter in the snow machine?

  • jim

    I’m seeing the cold in the models…which is great..but where’s the moisture? The GFS has nice series of storms around 22nd but not much before.The Euro models are cold but dry through most of the period in contrast to yesterdays runs. Overall pattern improving. The last week of February could be good but is there any indication this pattern change will be sustained into March ?

  • Alex

    Looking forward to seeing the pattern change. I’ll be out there Feb 26-March 8th, and really hoping for some good snow.

    Thanks for all you do, I will be donating closer to my trip as this is the most up to date and in depth forecast.

  • Andre

    Thank you for these amazing updates and analysis!

    • brig

      Ditto. It is my morning perspective first thing from late November through late April/May.

  • Aaron Soriero

    Do you only see one storm coming through early next week ? Or are there chances for storms Wed-Sat?

  • Tim

    Don’t look at the 06Z GFS if you are suicidal.