Monday, November 24, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY

As many of you know I am an optimist when it comes to snow forecasts. Remember that if you think this is pessimistic.

The Good:

There is a storm forming off the coast of CA as we speak. This is the storm I alluded to two weeks ago and last week. The storm will slowly goes by, so for us we will be cloudy with light precip into Thursday. It is hard to say how much will could get because of the wobbling of the storm but at most 3-6 inches above 7000 as the snow level will be between 6000-7000 ft.

Another storm comes down to the east of us on Friday which will bring down some colder air for the weekend. Temps should be average for the next few weeks so we should be able to make snow at night.

The Bad:

The Tuesday storm would have been big for us, but it broke off of the northern jet stream and became a “closed” low. This means that it is not flowing along with the main jetstream and at the same pace. That makes these storms very hard to predict because with nothing to steer them they just wobble around off the coast. This storm wobbled too far south and will come onshore in SoCal. It did however go far enough south to tap into the southern branch of the jetstream. It will come onshore with quite a bit of moisture. Places like Mammoth could see up to a foot of snow and Big Bear could get up to two feet.

The Friday storm is coming too far east of us to give us much if any precip. I was hoping it would come down over us and grab some moisture off of the ocean.

With the clouds around from the storminess this week it will be hard for the temps to go much below freezing and will limit snowmaking till things clear up on the weekend.

The Ugly:

Models want to take the Friday storm and have it move off the coast of the Baja. This is not good. This forms what is called a “Rex Block”. You may remember it from Jan. 2007. It is when a closed low sits below a high pressure off of the coast. The counter clockwise winds from the low and the clock wise winds from the high form a wind tunnel between them blowing in the opposite direction of us. Therefore pushing storms up and around into Canada. Because these are “closed” features cut off from the main jet stream they can sit off the coast and block storms for weeks. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen, I will keep you updated.

La Nina is also continuing to strengthen. We are looking freakishly similar to last season at this point, although there are some factors that are more favorable for us this season. It is typical in a La Nina year for Nov to be dry. As we go into Dec. the seasonal pattern shifts and tends to allow arctic air and storms to come into the Pac Northwest. Last year this happened and we got really cold starting Dec. 6th. It is possible this year it may be a week or two later, but arctic air should arrive around the middle of Dec.

I see no storms on the horizon because the models have the Rex Block in place for the first two weeks of Dec. If it doesn’t form they could change. We just have to wait and see if La Nina continues to strengthen or reverses like we thought would happen earlier. If it stays in place look for another big year in the Pac Northwest and we could or could not have a big year since we are right on the bottom of the storm track. It would mean another cold year with most storms all snow, just like last year. Remember last season our first decent snow was Dec. 19th.

Once again, pray for warmer ocean temps, and pray for no Rex Block, you will in turn be praying for Snow!!!

No comments: