Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Forecast Leftovers

It's snowing lightly in the mountains this morning, but not enough to get excited about.  I was just taking a look at the medium range forecast and it, like the forecast for this holiday weekend, is a turkey for skiers too.

The medium range forecasts being produced by the National Weather Service and European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasts are dominated by a ridge over the western United States for the next 5-7 days, with only a couple of weak systems pushing into the ridge, the strongest on Wednesday, which right now the computer models suggest will give us a dry cold-frontal passage.

Global Forecast System (GFS) forecast valid 1200 UTC (0500 MST)
Wednesday 30 November).
The bottom line is that it looks mainly dry through the middle to end of next week.  Having a thin snowpack sit around for so long is simply not good for avalanche conditions.  The buried facets from October's early snow are not healing (see today's Utah Avalanche Center advisory) and we might see facets developing on other aspects if it continues to stay dry (our saving grace thusfar has probably been the warm temperatures – facets grow in snowpacks with a large temperature contrast between near the ground and the snowpack surface, so warmer temperatures mean a smaller contrast).  Avalanche conditions are likely to be nasty when it finally starts snowing again.

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