The Shift

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 6:45 am

Summary:

Last days of warm weather before we see a major shift in the pattern.  A storm will bring cold air and a quick blanket of snow to the Wasatch Wednesday night into Thursday.  Pattern will be more conducive for storms later in the month.

Details:

Models have come in slightly faster and drier with the system Wednesday night into Thursday.  The GFS was much wetter in yesterday morning’s runs.  We’ll still see cold air and still see snow, but we might struggle to reach higher accumulations.  Yesterday I was conservative with 6-12″ forecasted for the the highest elevations.  I still think that’s possible in the Cottonwoods, but other areas will like be in the 4-8″ range above 8,000 feet.  The wildcard, of course, is how much the Great Salt Lake aids in the development of snow showers behind the front.

The cold air will allow for resorts to make snow late this week into the weekend.  A colder ridge of high pressure will temporarily take control and we will likely see some inversions developing in the valleys.

Long range:

A lot of question marks in the long range.  The Euro and GFS have flipped since yesterday.  The GFS now shows the next system splitting with most of the energy down in Arizona.   The Euro keeps the system more consolidated and pushes it through Utah on about Tuesday of next week.  There are many Euro ensembles however that still support the splitting idea, and I would not be surprised to see it flip back to that solution in its next run.

Both GFS and Euro then have a chance for a system (probably weak) to push through around Thanksgiving Day.  At this point, there is nothing major in the forecast, but the overall pattern should continue to get more favorable as we head toward the end of the month.  Just got a cross our fingers and hope.

As for conditions across the west, well, they pretty much stink throughout:

1115_snowpack

Our “snowpack” is virtually non-existent.  Most of the Sierras, Cascades, and Rockies are in the same boat.  I’ve been saying for over two weeks that our resorts were unlikely to open on time, so it shouldn’t be a shock to you that they are pushing back opening days.  Not sure if you can take solace in the fact that we’re not the only ones struggling.  Maybe it just bums you out even more….?   Let’s hope this active pattern turns things around quickly.  It is, after all, only the middle of November.

WSF





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  • Florida Sam

    Just for clarity, the chart showing % of normal, is for this day over the years correct? So it is a apples to apples comparison, on average there would be SOME snow pack by now.

  • SJG

    Jackson and Targhee had over 50″ on the ground a few weeks ago, and that’s all but gone now! That’s probably worse…..

  • Matthew Moher

    The Great Salt Lake is at a record low right now in Farmington Bay. This will indeed affect the snow production for decades to come. Since ocean levels are rising, why can’t we pump ocean water into the great salt lake and then control the water level with dams/dikes.

    • byustudent

      I mean, it is a 4000 foot elevation gain and something like 800 miles away. It’d be a pretty expensive and intense engineering feat to pull it off.

      • Db

        looking around the mountains at the supposed ancient waterline it seems the great salt lake was WAY higher than it is now, by a massive amount.

        • SJG

          that was Lake Bonneville, not GSL.

          • Db

            bonneville is gone, but the ancient lake levels around the GSL are still there, are they not?

  • Floyd Teter

    It’s still early. Winter is just a little late getting here is all. I’ll be worried if we’re still having this conversation in mid-December.