Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lying in Wait

Wasatch snow predators are now lying in wait for the next big storm cycle.  Photo source:
For early November, the snowpack in the central Wasatch sits somewhere fairly close to average for early November.  One always needs to be careful interpreting automated snow data when the snowpack is thin, but the Snowbird, Mill D, and Brighton SNOTEL stations all sit at 90–110% of average.  Snowbird has the most snowpack snow-water equivalent (3 inches), which puts it at 106% of average.  In fact the snowpack history since October 1st is about as close to average as you can get.
What is needed now is a major storm cycle to put us over the top.  If we were to get a good 40 or 50 inches of wet snow containing 4 or 5 inches of water, we'd be off to a really good start (it's good to be greedy).  Unfortunately, the models continue to keep us on the edge of the storm track for the next several days.  For example, the total accumulation forecast by the 0600 UTC GFS for today through November 12th gives only very light accumulations to the northwest corner of the state.
Source: NCEP
Perhaps one of the storms rumbling through the northwest will dip far enough south to light us up, but as things stand now, I think the best we can hope for are some dribs and drabs.  Even the gold standard ECMWF model keeps us dry for the next several days.  

Beyond that, what I like to call "dream-prog land", you can pick your solution of choice.  The GFS deterministic run keeps a ridge over the west (upper right panel below) and the average of all the members of the GFS ensemble also suggests persistence of the mean ridge (upper left panel below, see Forecast Tools: Ensemble Forecast Systems post for information on ensembles).  On the other hand, the ECMWF deterministic run puts a mean trough over western North America (lower right panel below) and has some potential to give us a snowier pattern.  The mean of the ECMWF ensemble is also "trofy" over the west (bottom left panel below).

Let's hope the ECMWF wins.

1 comment:

  1. Accuweather is calling for a colder, snowier mid-end of November. Which probably means the ECMWF is going to lose...