In yesterday's post, I asked the question, "should we buy in to the latests forecasts?" Motivating that question was the very optimistic forecasts for snow being produced by the GFS and the NAEFS, as well as the less optimistic forecasts being produced by the ECMWF Integrated Forecast System (a.k.a., the ECMWF, EC, or Euro model and ensemble).
Given the restricted nature of data provided by the ECMWF, I've struggled with how to show these differences, but someone pointed out to me that San Jose State University has a comparison between the EC and the GFS on their web site. I love it when my job gets easier.
So, here's the basic issue. Yesterday mornings 1200 UTC GFS (green 500-mb height contours below) produced a much weaker and progressive trough than the EC (red contours) for later this week and weekend. These result in dramatically different forecasts for precipitation in the central Wasatch, with the former being wetter and more favorable for orographic precipitation enhancement following the anticipated late Thursday/Thursday night frontal passage, and the latter much drier.
Last nights 0Z runs show that the GFS has shifted a bit toward the EC solution, but the trough remains weaker. Note that the forecast below is for 12-hours earlier than the one above since forecasts are available only every 24 hours.
Bottomline: It looks like we'll get something with the frontal passage, but a major post-frontal snow event, as has been advertised by the GFS, remains somewhat suspect for Friday and Saturday. I lean toward the EC solution because it has long been the better performing model and the trough evolution it is predicting is consistent with the parade of troughs that have moved through western North America over the past 6 weeks or so.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but I'm betting on a final score that is EC 1 GFS 0, although I would be happy to lose (i.e., big snows Friday and Saturday) or take a tie (i.e., we get some but not a lot of post-frontal snow on Friday and Saturday).