Looks like we’ll be staying in a fairly cold, more winter-like pattern at least through next week. We’ll warm up slightly Tuesday/Wednesday, but compared to what it’s been the past month it’ll probably still seem cold. On to the good stuff and what we’ve been waiting a month+ for. The pattern change is HERE! High amplitude ridging which has dominated the Western U.S. and plagued Utah for most of the past month will shift westward. This will help open the door for a period of active northwesterly flow with numerous storms affecting the Western U.S. How exactly this pans out for Utah remains to be seen, but I can almost guarantee we’ll have more snow days and better odds at decent accumulations through the next couple weeks than we’ve seen in a while.
The first potential storm to impact us will begin to move into the picture Thursday. Precipitable Water (a measure of moisture) values will begin to increase in advace of the first of a series of shortwave troughs embedded in NW’ly flow. The evolution of this first shortwave will have important implications in determining how the longwave trough and other shortwaves evolve. Without getting too much into the details the latest GFS and European runs have been trending towards and are now showing a deeper overall longwave trough by next weekend. While Northern Utah would still almost certainly see snow from this type of evolution, the best moisture and dynamics would be shunted off farther towards the south. The 00z European run (yesterday) and some ensembles, however, were farther north with the best dynamics and the overall evolution. These different model solutions we’re seeing right now could mean the difference between a mediocre 6 inch storm and a blower 1-2 foot + storm. In summary, the jury is still out on how this will pan out so let’s hope models trend back towards a more northerly solution. Regardless, though, snow is in the forecast for a change. Oh and one more tidbit… things are looking good even beyond this system, so if it doesn’t nail us maybe the next will.