The dominant storm track for most of the winter has delivered snow to the Pacific Northwest, down the spine of the northern Rockies in Montana and Wyoming, then over to the northeast. This pattern will return now in early February and should last for at least two weeks, if not longer.
Short Term Forecast
The title of this post implies that the Groundhog makes an accurate prediction.
Actually, there is no science behind the Groundhog and its shadow.
But, I wasn’t alluding to the Groundhog, the animal.
Instead, I was alluding to the movie “Groundhog Day”, in which an odd loop in time allows Bill Murray, playing a weather forecaster from Pittsburgh, to repeat the same day over and over and over again.
That is what this winter feels like, with essentially the same storm track sticking around week after week after week. Of course, there is no one single storm track, and each storm throughout the season is free to move in any direction. But over days and weeks, you see an average storm track set up, and this is what I am referring to.
The snow forecast through Tuesday, February 13th looks similar to many other 7-10-day snow forecasts from earlier this season, where storms hit the Pacific Northwest, track down or just east of the Rockies, and then hit the northeast and sometimes the mid-Atlantic.
This is a pretty typical storm track for a La Nina season, but you never know exactly where the storm track will set up, and a few hundred miles north or south can make all the difference between rain vs. snow in the northeast, or between drier weather (like we’ve seen in Utah and Colorado) and snowier weather that we’ve seen in northern Wyoming and Montana.
Looking into the details of the 10-day forecast, most of the snow in the western US should fall between about February 4-7. After that, British Columbia will see additional snowfall, but other areas of the west may take a break. To the east, there should be powder on Wednesday and Thursday, and another storm should bring a mix of rain and substantial snow on Saturday and Sunday.
If you read this column each week, you know that I do not like to look at detailed forecasts beyond 10 days because the accuracy of such forecasts is abysmal. Instead, in the 10-15 day time range, it’s best to look at an average of many forecasts. Also, I like to look at the average temperature forecast because models are often more accurate when predicting temperature rather than precipitation.
The 10-15 day forecast below shows … well, no strong signal toward storminess.
The red colos indicate above-average temperatures, but don’t be too upset by this. Instead, without a strong signal of storminess (blue colors) in any specific area of North America, I would go with a forecast that shows the current storm track continuing with snow in the northwest and northeast. Yes, it just might be Groundhog Day through the rest of February.
Thanks for reading!
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