Pattern change next weekend still looking good… full update this evening . . .
Updating more out of habit today than to provide any real new information, as not much has changed since yesterday’s discussion. Today will be fair and mild with increasing clouds and breezes later in the day. Tomorrow morning we’ll be brushed by a weak system moving by to our north and east. Only a slight chance for showers in the Wasatch tomorrow morning with the highest chances close to the Idaho border. Snow levels will be relatively high near 7,000 ft and we don’t expect anything more than a dusting anywhere. Temps will drop by 10 degrees or so behind the front on Monday, but will warm up as a ridge rebuilds through Wednesday.
Attention then turns to the next, more significant system dropping down from the Gulf of AK. It will mostly affect coastal areas of California, Oregon and Washington through the end of the work week. We’ll be under a moist southwest flow so it is possible to see a couple showers on Thursday/Friday, but it won’t be until later in the day on Saturday (Dec 1) that the system will really start to move inland. Still a lot of questions as to the overall strength and how well this system will hold together as it moves across the Great Basin, but we think it definitely has potential to be significant. Snow levels will likely be well above the valley floors so it could be another good base-building wet snow for the resorts. Lots of details still have to be worked out but next weekend looks to be our return to active weather. Stay tuned . . .
Hopefully everybody is done being thankful and is ready to resume complaining about the snow, or lack there of. We’ve definitely been in a bit of a lull, but like we said, the Pacific has remained active. Unfortunately for the last two weeks or so the main storm track has kept most of the storms to our north and that looks to continue for about one more week before a pattern change may take place.
First, we’ll have to deal with a grazing system on early Sunday morning that will likely only give us a chance at a few high mountain snow showers and some clouds and breezes elsewhere. This should cool us off on Sunday and Monday by about 10 degrees from the high temps we’ll see today and tomorrow. We will then ridge up again for the first half of next week.
Now for the pattern change… the models are showing this pattern change occurring starting on Thursday (Nov. 29) and continuing into that weekend (Dec 1-2). The GFS and Euro both drop another large-scale trough into the Gulf of AK, this time deeper than some of our previous troughs and therefore more conducive to rain/snow south of the Pac NW. The GFS is showing a potential sub-tropical moisture tap bringing warm advection precip into California Nevada and Utah starting on Thursday. EC is pushing most of this moisture into Oregon and Washington. This is tough to call this far out but it would generally mean light precip could start as early as Thursday in Utah with high snow levels at least initially. The real meat and potatoes (apparently I still have food on the brain) of this low pressure system will probably move in over the weekend of Dec 1-2. This far out it’s impossible to say what the exact timing, temperatures, strength of this system will be but signs are that it could be our first decent snowfall in a number of weeks.
It’s not just the models that lead us to have so much confidence in this pattern change. We are still seeing a Negative PNA which supports the idea of west coast troughing. We are also seeing the development of a high pressure ridge developing over the Aleutian Islands… this often leads to a deep trough downstream over the western US. Models show this high pressure ridge will strengthen and amplify over the next week. The CPC has also latched onto the idea of a change to wet weather along the west coast and extending into Utah. Here is their latest 6-10 day forecast:
The green in the Western U.S. means a high likelihood of above average precip. This trend continues in their 8-14 day forecast:
Again, this looks like it has potential to produce fairly significant snow for Utah if it verifies as the models suggest. The next week will now just feature us watching and fine tuning our forecast as the details iron themselves out. Stay tuned and stay patient . . . Winter shall return!