Inversion conditions persist with cool air trapped in the valleys along with haze and fog. Sunny and warm in the mountains. A weak storm will clip northern Utah this weekend with a chance for some light snow showers and perhaps some scouring of the inversion. A better storm is possible later next week.
Valley air quality is poor thanks to the current inversion and high pressure. Yesterday was a great day to ski just for getting out of the soup down low. I stuck to groomers and “followed the sun”, starting on south and east facing slopes and gradually shifting to west and even some north facing runs as they softened throughout the day. Not ideal, but not bad either. Then I watched my car thermometer drop from the mid-40s to the low 30s as I drove down the canyon and into the inversion.
High pressure has seemingly peaked (for now) and will flatten and weaken this weekend. This will allow some energy to pass through the Northern Rockies. Northern Utah will get clipped with this energy. Mountains will have a chance for some light snow showers and will see a cool down in temperatures. Probably only a trace to maybe a couple inches of accumulation. The big hope is that this energy will kick up winds and cool the upper air temps enough for the valleys to scour out a bit. We may not fully clear out, but hopefully we can at least get a good chunk of the pollutants out. Unfortunately, high pressure builds back in for early next week — so air quality may once again deteriorate.
The next storm of note is timing for later next week (Feb 18-19). Doesn’t look major, but could be strong enough for a powder day or two. It does appear that we will go back to ridging after this storm for at least a few days.
Some of you who check the GFS model may be noticing that the last few runs have shown a potential undercutting of the STJ with storms pushing in over the last few days of its 16-day run. Hate to be the buzzkill, but at this point that solution doesn’t really have the support of the Euro or even the GEFS ensemble suite. Not saying that it isn’t possible, but don’t want people to get too invested in something until there’s substantially more consensus.
If you want to blame something for this dry spell, I think the best target of your angst should be the MJO. Seems that the MJO is currently destructively interfering with ENSO (El Nino). Eventually the MJO should move into more favorable phases, but that could take at least a couple more weeks, and even then, its downstream effects are often delayed. You can read more about the MJO’s current state HERE…
Anyway… Few snow showers possible this weekend. Hopefully we clear the air a bit. Our hopes right now for powder are riding on the storm for Thursday/Friday of next week. Main message on the long-range forecast… Be patient and hope and pray for a Miracle March.