Mild and dry on Sunday and Monday. A system moves in from the south on Tuesday into early Wednesday with a few inches of high elevation snowfall possible. High pressure returns later next week.
Updates have been a little less frequent lately. It's a preservation of my own sanity type of thing...
Luckily, there's at least a little storm to talk about in the short term. It's now been 13 days since our last storm of >3". We've got a chance to get perhaps that much late Tuesday into early Wednesday.
Our high pressure to our west has been so strong that energy is either forced well north into British Columbia or southeastern Alaska, or it is pushed south into the tropical waters of the eastern Pacific. One of these southern branch systems is forecasted to move up from south of Baja California over the next two days, eventually moving into the Mojave desert and pushing north into the Great Basin on Tuesday. By Tuesday evening, this energy gets ejected eastward across Utah, bringing us a chance for some showers late Tuesday into Wednesday morning.
Because of the tropical origins of this system, the snow levels will start high. A bit of cool air will eventually work its way into the system but only enough to drop snow levels down to 6,500 feet or so. While there's somewhat decent moisture, the dynamics in this system are lacking. Right now it looks like it will be a struggle to get more than a few tenths of an inch of liquid in the high Wasatch:
The above map translates to this graph for the upper Cottonwoods:
Just a few inches of snow by 11am on Wednesday.... Probably significantly less in Park City if this were to verify. The GFS is much more optimistic:
It shows about 5" by 11am Wednesday, but shows snow continuing into the afternoon with almost 7" total by Wednesday evening. This optimism is uncharacteristic of the GFS, but perhaps the new, higher-resolution GFS will lead to forecasts closer to those of the 12km-NAM. It will be a good test for the new GFS!
It feels strange to put this much time and effort into what would normally be considered just a small storm... but I guess we've reached that point.
No sugarcoating it -- the long range looks bad as high pressure will likely re-establish itself as we enter February. The GFS was the optimistic model, but as expected, it is now delaying the pattern change. The EC tries to sneak energy into the area by the end of the first week of February, but it's long range ensembles still favor strong ridging redeveloping. The CFSv2 keeps us on the drier-than-average side until middle of February before it turns on the hose, but I have very little faith in that. Teleconnections are fairly stagnant so I don't see anything that would be a major catalyst for change in the next two weeks. The MJO was working its way toward favorable phases but as it approached it weakened and now looks like it will circle back into unfavorable phases before it strengthens again.
I know a lot of what I was just rambling about doesn't make much sense, but the short summary is that there are very few signals at this time of a major pattern change. At least not until we are well into February. After about February 10th, all bets are off as that is about the extent of any semblance of reliability.... Let's hope we see a Fab Feb and a Miracle March!
Evan | OpenSnow