Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Last Half of October Looking "Ridgy"

The period from mid September to mid October was relatively cool in northern Utah, ranking as the 12th coldest on record at the Salt Lake City International Airport and the coldest since 1986. 

Source: NOAA Regional Climate Centers
The period also brought a bit of snow to the mountains, which continues to linger on shady upper-elevation slopes.

However, the pattern is shifting for the latter half of October.  Although we have a cold front moving through the area on Friday, bringing a temporary cool down for the first half of the weekend, the extended range forecasts are strongly hinting that the next 10 days or more will be dominated by ridging over our area.  Below are GEFS forecasts valid 6 AM Monday and Wednesday mornings, showing the jet either to our north on Monday, raking the area along the US-Canadian Border, and high amplitude ridging over our area on Wednesday.  

Source: Penn State e-wall 
Source: Penn State e-wall 

A strong tendency for ridging is also suggested by most members of the GEFS for late next week. 

Source: Penn State e-wall 

By and large, this is not a recipe for October skiing.  We might get a little snow with the front on Friday, and it's possible that something could "slip through the net" over the next 10 days, but by and large, these are pretty pessimistic forecasts for those looking for October turns.

On the other hand, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Early snow often turns into weak snow (as is happening on the shady aspects where snow lingers) and if we have our druthers, a season that comes on strong in early November is preferred to one that comes in with a bit here and there in October.  The key is for this pattern to change in November, preferably early.  Let's hope that happens.  

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