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Tuesday October 21st 2014 7:43am

Summary:

Scattered showers today with a dusting of snow above 9,000 feet.  Warm and dry Wednesday thru Saturday before a trough brings cooler temps and a chance for more high elevation snow showers on Sunday.

Details:

A system is moving through the area today.  Scattered showers are likely across most of the region.  As for snow, a dusting is possible above 9,000 feet in the Wasatch by tonight.  The Uintas may do a bit better with a few inches possible there in the highest elevations.  Behind the front, temps will be cooler today than they have been.

On Wednesday we see high pressure return with temps warming through the end of the week.  Saturday may be a bit breezy, but should be the nicer of the two weekend days.  On Sunday, our next system moves into the region.  Major differences between the EC and the GFS regarding this system.  GFS keeps the systems consolidated and ejects it through the northern Rockies, giving Utah a similar dose as to what we are seeing today.  The EC splits the system and closes off the southern Low over Southern Utah.  This scenario would bring decent precipitation totals to Southern and Central Utah, but northern Utah would get caught in between the two pieces of energy and only see modest amounts.  Depending on which solution is right, snow levels on Sunday could range from 7-9k feet.  At this time, it does not look like a major weather system for most areas.

Long range:

Next week we will ridge up again at least for a few days. Models are all over the place as we close out October and head into November.  Right now I'm going to hold off on trying to make any sense of it until we get some model-to-model and run-to-run consistency.

The good news is that none of the models like the idea of persistent dry patterns right now.  All ensembles keep the general pattern progressive, so chances are we'll get some storm systems into the area sooner rather than later.  CFSv2 long range model continues to paint above average precip for the Western United states for the month of November... We'll see...

Evan | OpenSnow

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Monday October 20th 2014 7:51am

Summary:

A weak system will bring wind, a few rain showers, and a dusting of snow above 9,000 feet on Tuesday.  High pressure will warm us up for later in the week before another storm system impacts the area late in the weekend.

Details:

Things continue to look not nearly as bleak as they were looking just a few days ago.  With that said, there's nothing major in the forecast either.  The storm on Tuesday is weakening and being pushed north of the area as it moves inland.  We'll be left with the tail end of the remnants in a strong southwest flow.  Because of this, snow levels will be high.  A few inches will be possible above 9,000 feet with the highest amounts above 10K feet in the Uintas.

High pressure will dominate Wednesday thru Saturday with warm afternoon highs -- well above normal.   The next system moves into Northern Utah on Sunday.  Models have latched on to fairly similar solutions.  This system will have a bit more energy to work with and will have colder air.  At this time, accumulations look modest, but it's rare to get major snowfall in October so that's not a surprise.   More details as we get closer to the weekend.

Long range:

Not much agreement at all in the long range, some ensembles try to ridge us back up as we head toward Halloween while others keep a progressive pattern going with more chances for storms.  Not much point trying to forecast yet...

CFSv2 long range model has spent most of the last month forecasting drier-than-normal conditions for California and the Great Basin during the month of November.  In the last few days, however, it has become significantly wetter:

Nov forecast

Hopefully this is an indication of an active pattern for the central west coast next month, as that would be ideal for Utah to get good early season base-building snowfall.  We'll watch and see...

Evan | OpenSnow

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Sunday October 19th 2014 8:56am

Summary

A weak system will bring a brief interruption to our "Indian Summer" on Tuesday and Wednesday before high pressure returns for the end of the week into next weekend.  Models continuing to trend toward a chance for unsettled weather to return by the end of the month.  

Details

Benign Fall weather will continue for the next few days.  A system will move into the west coast and Great Basin on Tuesday.  Most of the energy with this system will either lift north of the area, or weaken as it encounters high pressure, but enough energy should remain to give northern Utah a chance for a few showers.  Snow levels will start out above 10,000 feet but will drop down to near 7,000 feet on Tuesday night behind the cold front.  Accumulations should be light, an inch or two on the peaks.  Sometimes these early season systems surprise us with a bit more snow than expected, so we'll have to watch, but at this point it looks like just a dusting.  

High pressure will return in full strength late in the work week and into next weekend with temperatures once again climbing well above normal.  

Attention then starts to turn toward potential pattern change for the end of the month.  The GFS's latest run is much quicker than the EC in bringing in a system as early as late next weekend (10/26).  Here is the forecast ensemble mean heights from the GFS model for the 26th.  

GFS_heights_1026

 

The cool colors over the Western states indicate that most GFS ensembles think there will be a trough of low pressure over the area.  The operational GFS shows a moderate system moving in around Monday, 10/27.  

I don't trust the GFS with this initial system because 1) It's the GFS which is inherently fickle, and 2) the much more reliable ECMWF (Euro) model doesn't show the trough developing until Wednesday the 29th.  The operational EC goes out 10-days from today and it shows a system just beginning to enter the Great Basin on the last frame of it's run.  This idea is supported by the EC's ensemble mean heights for 10/29: 

EC_heights_1029

 

Like the GFS, the EC above shows a broad trough over the western states.  Right now it's just too far out to forecast individual storm systems, but it does appear that we'll at least open the door a bit for storms. We can only hope that we get one or more decent dumps to get our 2014-15 base building underway.  

Remember that this potential pattern change is still nearly 10 days away and there is plenty of time for the models to change their minds and break our hearts again.  But for the first time in two weeks or so, I have something with real potential to talk about.  Fingers crossed! 

Evan | OpenSnow

P.S. If you have ski burning, beard growing, or any other snow-summoning rituals.  Now is the time to put them into practice.  

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Thursday October 16th 2014 7:03am

Nothing major in sight still.  We'll be mostly dry through the weekend.  Next chance for precipitation will be a storm system moving in off the Pacific next Tuesday/Wednesday.  This storm weakens as it moves inland, but may tap into some moisture to our south.  It looks like at best we'll see a few valley rain showers and an inch or two of high mountain snow.  Ridging then looks likely to return for late next week.

The only hope right now for more significant snow is the last few days of October.  A few of the GEFS and ECMWF ensembles are showing a return to troughing for the western states.  This is still far too distant to forecast with any certainty, so for now we'll just have to keep watching and hoping more of the ensembles latch on to this idea....

Evan | OpenSnow

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Wednesday October 15th 2014 7:37am

Wednesday update:

Nothing new to report.  We have three systems that will move into the west coast over the next 8 days or so.  None of which look likely to bring much precipitation (if any) to Utah.  The first is moving north of the area today and tomorrow.  Northern Utah will see breezy conditions and some clouds, but nothing in the way of precipitation.   The next system moves in this weekend but it will shear apart as it moves onshore.  Again, nothing for us but some clouds and breezes.  The third system moves in around Tuesday of next week.  This one may hold together well enough to bring a few light showers to Utah next Wednesday.  At this point, anything we do get will be light with relatively high snow levels.

Beyond middle of next week, the EC and GFS generally both ridge us back up.  The only ray of hope is that both models currently favor troughing over the west coast for the last few days of October.  As mentioned before, not seeing much snow in October shouldn't be a cause for concern.  Not much correlation between October snowfall and total snowfall for the rest of the season...  However, it would be nice to start painting the high elevations with a permanent coat of white.  

Evan | OpenSnow

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