Friday, December 7, 2012

Right Flow, Wrong Location

For a few days each winter, we settle into a pattern with northwesterly flow, but with the storm track just a bit too far to the north and east.  When this happens, the Tetons and the Park Range (i.e., Steamboat) tend to get more snow than the Cottonwoods.

That will probably be the case over the next four days.  The northwesterly storm track will extend from Washington into Colorado, leaving a "pearl necklace" of precipitation maxima over the Cascades, northern Idaho Mountains, Tetons, and Park Range.  The Cottonwoods are just south of the major action.

Source: NCEP
Right now it looks like we will see some snow showers over the weekend, but major accumulations will require the lake to get going and keep going.  The lake is always fickle, so it's a possibility, but right now I don't see a major lake contribution.  Thus, we'll probably see 2–4 inches, just enough to cover up the rocks.


  1. Living in California, I am familiar with this pattern. It produces a nice blocking ridge over Lake Tahoe resorts. If I recall correctly, two years ago, it was in a perfect spot for the Wasatch. I remember my friends complaining about lack of snow in Tahoe while I was skiing powder in Utah.

  2. Hi. Follow your blog from WA state. No connection to Utah. Just love mountain weather. The western U.S. ridge has been so dominate this year. We felt the effects with record dryness Aug. Sept. and 2/3rds of October. But since, the valley rain and mountain snow has been relentless.

    First, snow levels were high with the diagonal SW flow. Now the flow is NW and you're still missing out. Mt. Baker WA is gloating about their 106 inch base at 4200ft. We wish and bless powder amongst everyone. Hey....8 to 14 day outlook cold and wet for all of the western US!