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…