Monday, November 3, 2014

The Week Ahead (and Beyond)

Our mini storm cycle is winding down this morning in the central Wasatch.  Although we may see a few more flakes this morning, for the most part, the event is over.  Data from the Alta-Collins site suggests 11 inches fell since Saturday, so the storm came out on the high end of projections.  The snow depth says 15 inches, but the sensor was measuring 5-6 inches all summer long, so I suspect we're looking at a snow depth of about 10 inches (with settlement to come).

Source: MesoWest
This winter, my group is also operating a snow-study site in Albion Basin near the top of the Cecret lift.  I'll talk more about it in a future post, but for comparison, its measuring a snow depth of about 8 inches.  We're already taking bets on which site will have the greater depth come spring.

As I suspected, the mini storm cycle has placed us firmly in hiker and skier purgatory.  Enough snow to make hiking in the high country more difficult, but not enough for skiing (for most sane and rational people anyway – I know some of you are probably out already!).  How will the scale tip in the coming days?

Both the ECMWF and the GEFS ensemble forecast systems suggest that ridging will dominate our weather through next weekend.  There's a brush-by system on Tuesday and another late Friday, but currently most ensemble forecast members keep the precipitation to our north.  In all likelihood, we'll make it through Sunday with little or no mountain snowfall.  Lube the chain and hit the shoreline trail.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Although I don't put much faith in extended range forecasts, a peak at the 8-14 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center suggests that the odds favor warmth and dryness.

Source; Climate Prediction Center
Source: Climate Prediction Center
From a meteorological perspective, one of the more exciting events set to occur this week is the extratropical transition of Super Typhoon Nuri.  Nuri is a beast — probably the strongest tropical cyclone observed this year with current maximum sustained winds of 155 knots and gusts to 190.  Even in the low-res global IR below, one can make out a well-formed eye.

Nuri is expected to undergo extratropical transition, converting into a midlatitude cyclone as it moves poleward (GFS forecast below), attaining great depth off the Kamchatka Peninsula.  

The current minimum central pressure forecast from the GFS is a remarkable sub-920 mb.  Yeah...920 mb!  I had to adjust my contouring algorithm to deal with pressures that low.

I'm guessing there will be a big-wave surfing event in Hawaii thanks to the waves from this beast.  Looking forward to watching it the next few days.  

1 comment:

  1. The lowest ET cyclone pressure ever record is 913 mb in 1993:

    The 126 hr 06Z GFS forecast had Niri at 914 mb!