Wibbly Wobbly Southern Jet

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at 7:05 am


Occasional light snow showers today (Wednesday) with minimal accumulations.  Drier and warmer weather for this weekend as high pressure takes control.  A strengthening southern branch of the jet stream will bring heavy precipitation to the desert southwest next week.


Very weak impulses continue to ripple through the region and have brought occasional light snow showers to the region since Monday.  That will continue today before we clear out on Thursday.  High pressure will slowly take control with warming mountain temperatures and mostly clear conditions for the weekend.  Inversions are likely to strengthen in the valleys.

Next week, we will see the southern branch of the jet stream start to undercut the ridge with systems splitting off the California coast and the more active southern branch carrying low pressure systems into the desert southwest.   Good news for Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico.  Here is the GFS total QPF as of the 06z run for the next 10 days:


You can see the higher amounts of precip to the south and west of Utah.  This is also reflected in the CPC’s 6-10 day forecast:


You may notice that the above map looks shockingly similar to some of the winter forecast maps I posted back in the Fall.  That is because this is the first signs of a “classic” El Nino pattern developing.  Logic would tell us that this pattern will continue and strengthen as we head through January into February and March.  Note that Southern Utah is favored, but Northern Utah is sandwiched between the above and below normal areas.  That’s why I’ve always stated that it could go either way for us.  Nothing’s changed in that regard.  Time will tell.

As for next week, I’d expect Southern Utah to have a chance for some decent mountain snowfall, but Northern Utah will likely only see a few light showers as the energy passes to our south.  We’ll have to fine tune the forecast over the next few days as models get a better grasp on the exact placement of these systems.  Stay tuned…


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  • Mike Miller

    Is this likely to produce yet another sub-par winter? Once again I head west to Utah Jan15th to March 15th – season pass at powder mtn Generally what are the odds for a better snow year this year over last

    Thanks – Mike

    • Is what likely to produce another sub-par winter? As mentioned in today’s post and several times previously, there is very little correlation historically between Northern Utah snowfall and El Nino — so it could go either way. Considering last year was the worst year ever, and particularly poor at Powder Mountain, I think it’s safe to assume that this year will almost certainly be better than last year.

      • tani walker

        Its already better than last year. Plenty of snow here Mike, plus our cold temps are in our favor. We’ve been blessed this month. At or above precip and were only in December. Jan will be safe, I don’t think anyone can predict March. I know you have a season pass but might try someplace where they make snow if you’re worried once you’re here. Don’t miss this, it’s worth it.