We Lost Our M(o)JO

Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 8:27 am


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.



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  • nobleanger

    Any even slim hope at this point that the cottonwoods can pull some magic with the weak system this weekend like last week? Or are the conditions so much less favorable now that it’s not even worth a prayer?

    • Steve French

      Ill consult my Tarot Cards and get back to you ASAP.

    • There’s always a chance! If that energy comes in a bit stronger and farther south…. who knows. There are a couple rogue ensemble members showing an inch of liquid. I’d say it’s highly unlikely, but I’ve seen stranger things happen.

      • nobleanger

        Thanks – I’ll keep hoping. Hard to complain about the chance to get out on the mountain regardless, whatever the conditions…

  • NCST

    Any recommendations for making the most of the warm weather early next week? I’m getting to Park City on Sunday but have been thinking of going to one of the BCC or LCC resorts if they’re expected to hold up better.

    • Steve French

      1. Your Freshiest Sunglasses
      2. Weber Grill
      3. Hot Dogs

    • Very dependent on what you like to ski. If you want to do mostly groomers, I’d stick with PC. If you want to challenge your self on some off piste, then maybe the Cottonwoods are worth a trip.

    • Tom Bennett

      NCT, what kind of skier are you? Assuming no new snow:

      Groomers: Deer Valley, hands down
      Bumps: Canyons-side of Park City has some great mogul runs.
      Trees, Sidecountry: LCC, Snowbird/Alta
      Technical Hardpack: BCC (less crowds, greater change of finding stashes

      Just one man’s opinion 😉

    • NCST

      Thanks! I will be snowboarding so no Deer Valley or bumps. I prefer off piste as long as conditions are decent but can also enjoy groomers. I’ll probably stick to PC for a few days and then maybe venture to BCC.

    • Hugh Jass

      BCC sucks. Stick to Park City.

      • Young Crouton

        bcc sucks. don’t do it

    • Young Crouton

      save $$ & stay out of BCC. It does suck.

  • Jim

    Getting desperate but the GEM and JMA both bring the trough further south over the weekend….the 12z GFS sucks as does the 0Z Euro so…grasping at straws..

  • East Coast Greg

    Hello. Sorry i can’t find anything gnearly as gnarly as this blog to give me any info on Jackson Hole. Will the storm you talk about on the 18th – 19th affect the Tetons as well? is the outlook north of your better or the same. thank you so much for your weather info in this blog.

    • ryan

      Tetons and more forecasts on opensnowhttp://opensnow.com/forecasts?source=nav+localforecasters+link

      • Steve French

        not narley at all

  • Brad K.

    I keep trying to remind myself that this winter has been awesome, I had a really good powder day just last week, and theres still two months of potential storms but this spell is really bumming me out. PTSD from last winter?