Monday, November 11, 2013

Snow(Making) in Forecast

Mild weather remains in the forecast through tomorrow (Tuesday) when the warmest air of the current dry spell is expected to move over northern Utah and 700-mb (10,000 ft) temperatures over the Salt Lake Valley peak at about +5ºC.  Tomorrow will be a good day for a foothill hike.  

The past few days have been a serious setback for the snowpack.  It's now a do over for the south-facing aspects, which are snow free.  Snowmaking at the resorts has been limited or impossible.  Fortunately the sun angle is low enough that upper-elevation north-facing aspects are retaining most of their snow.  

Forecasts for the next seven days show a shift in the pattern after Tuesday with Utah under the influence of cooler northwesterly flow.  The resorts should be able to get back to snowmaking, and I suspect they will be firing all the guns in their arsenals by later in the week when 700-mb temperatures are forecast to drop to near -7ºC.  

I wish I could say that there was a big storm on tap, but as things look right now, that's not the case through next weekend.  The models bring a couple of weak short-wave troughs through, but right now none of them look to produce more than a few mountain snow showers.  Perhaps one of them will prove stronger than suggested by the models, but I'm not optimistic.  

Sometimes there is hope in the extended, but the 8-14 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center looks bleak.  

Source: CPC
Of course, these long-range forecasts have only modest skill at best.  Burn some skis and the pattern will change.  

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