Friday, February 10, 2017

Death to the Heat Miser!

It's a well kept secret in the meteorological business that the weather ups and downs we have in midlatitudes has nothing to do with the intrinsic instability of the jet stream, but instead to a continuous battle between Mother Nature's children, Snow Miser and Heat Miser.

Snow Miser is of course our friend, bringing us cold, wonderful winters with plenty of snow.  He's also a hell of an entertainer.

In contrast, Heat Miser is simply evil and the enemy of all skiers and lovers of winter.

Near as I can tell, Heat Miser is guilty of being a gaper who hates skiing and snow, and therefore he has been dangling from a noose in my office for many years.

Hang 'em high I always say.

Unfortunately, the real Heat Miser lives on and Snow Miser has ceded far to much ground to him this week.  Here are a few high temperatures from yesterday.  Salt Lake City Airport 66.  BYU 70.  S-Turns (Big Cottonwood) 60. Alta-Base 50. Solitude Base 50.  Park City Base 54.

Then, to add insult to injury, I awoke this morning to a temperature of 59ºF.


Where art thou Snow Miser?  You are our only hope!

The good news is that things will be changing today and tonight as a slow moving cold front drags through northern Utah.  My forecasting confidence is low given the beating I took earlier this week, but by and large, it looks like a decent storm for the mountains.  For the Cottonwoods, it may be a slow to get rolling today, but it should pick up later today and this evening.  Snow levels will be falling through the night, and snow water contents decreasing.  The NAM is generating just over an inch of water by tomorrow morning, with 9 inches of snow that should be right side up.

Last night's NCAR ensemble was a bit more robust, but is probably too excited about precipitation this morning.  Also, this is a frontal event, and often when the frontal forcing is strong, the orographic enhancement is sometimes limited.  Thus, I'll go for 6-12 inches at Alta through tomorrow morning and hope that the warm snow to start and the right-side up nature of the snow will bury crusts and make for good skiing tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed.


  1. Jim what's your outlook on into the middle to late part of Feb? Any chance of winter returning to the Wasatch?

    1. I don't do long-range weather forecasts. The skill is too low in my view to bother.

  2. Daryl, you can look at the NOAA climate prediction center forecasts (just google them). But I defer to Jim on this, they are not particularly accurate. Before the season started, the long-range was for a warmer than average season with equal chances of normal precipitation. Of course before the Heat Beast hit, we were having a great season that was about the due opposite of the long-range. So let's hope that respite is soon to come and we get back to cooler temps & storms..