All Quiet on the Western Front (sorta)

Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 8:13 am

Saturday update:

Some very interesting model runs lately, especially out of the GFS.  It is depicting the ridging to break down gradually next week with stronger, winter-like Pacific storms moving into the west coast as we head into the latter portions of October.  Will give the GFS and Euro another couple runs each… Will update tomorrow! WSF



Dry and mild Fall weather is in the forecast for at least the next week, probably longer.  However, there are plenty of interesting things going on right now that will influence us down the road.

Forecast and Miscellaneous info:

Nothing really going on locally of note right now. Dry weather with above average temperatures looks likely for at least the next 7 days.  The cut-off low that brought some showers to northern Utah and flash flooding to southern Utah has moved to the east.  Here is a really cool graphic that shows how it’s actually forecasted to double back and hit the southwestern U.S. twice:

Now you know why forecasters hate cut-off lows so much!  You never know where they are going to meander.

Despite the fact that it looks ‘all quiet on the western front’, there are some interesting things going on right now not too far off the Pacific coast.  The main item of interest is Hurricane Oho.  Look at the current forecasted path of this hurricane:


Although it will weaken to tropical storm and eventually depression status, it’s still a very unusual path.  Oho is the first NE Pacific hurricane ever north of 30N and east of 150W.   It is also the first hurricane to pass from the N Central Pacific into the N Eastern Pacific.  A lot of “firsts” for this storm, which is a testament to all the warm water in the eastern Pacific right now.

This warm water is likely also contributing to our ridging right now.  This might be cause for concern, however it’s my belief that as the westerlies strengthen as we get closer to winter, the influences of this warm water will wane.  As I’ve said previously, it’s normal for both October and even November to be warmer and drier than normal in El Nino years.

Right now, there is some indication in the long range models that we could see a flip to a colder, snowier pattern during the last week of October.  This is a long way out, but it’s been reflected in the ECMWF weeklies, the CFSv2, and now the Euro ensemble mean so confidence is growing. So if you’re itching for snow, be patient, enjoy some biking or Fall hikes, and hopefully winter will arrive by the end of the month.

As mentioned earlier this week, all signs point to further warming of El Niño.



For the past 4 years I have received several emails from a WSF reader, Brian McKenna.  He’s always been curious to learn more about meteorology, always been super friendly and positive, and genuinely reflects the spirit and passion for snow sports that we all share.   Only recently did I learn that Brian was involved in a serious mountain bike accident that has left him paralyzed.  Brian’s inspirational story since the accident was recently documented by Ellen.  Definitely worth a watch:

You can help Brian with medical expenses by donating via his GoFundMe page. I strongly urge you to donate!

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  • Daniel Pahlke

    With the RRR breaking down and the Blob most likely being pushed away by this El Nino event….can we expect the storm door to open more often being that the ridge is gone? All while still expecting the moisture to “mostly” head farther south? Sounds like it’s almost the opposite of what’s been happening recently with all the moisture heading over the Rockies towards the Eastern side of the country. Which is worse….a southern storm track or a giant ridge? What can I get excited about?!?! Anything solid outside of “change”?

    • I will take a strong southern branch of the jet all day. It at least has activity and copious moisture pushing into the west and giving us a chance. With a blocking ridge, we didn’t even have a chance.

  • Steve Noufer

    I know it’s early and it’s a ways out, but the GFS looking better for after October 20. I know it’s only a couple of runs, but it’s that time of year.

    • Yes sir! Even if it’s too far out for specifics. The broader pattern and breaking down of the blocking ridge is encouraging.