3/3 in December—January Predictions (Updated 12/31)

3/3 in December—January Predictions (Updated 12/31)

OK so our predictions were three for three but, they weren’t huge storms this cycle. The second cycle has under performed compared to the first cycle. What does that mean? There are lots of influences on the repeating pattern. The strength of La Niña, what phase the MJO is in, the AO, etc. LaNiña is strengthening, and that’s a big influence on the pattern. So as we go into cycle 3, The main storms of the pattern will still come through each time. I expect cycle 3 to be more like the first cycle so we should expect better performing storm systems in January and February.

Tahoe Prediction Jan 3rd

First let’s start off with the January 3rd storm for Tahoe. It is showing up on the models and is still running a day late—which is normal for the pattern. Sometimes it’s early and sometimes it’s late due to the circulation around the hemisphere. This storm is a 2-part storm and the first wave of energy is not very impressive. The second wave is looking more favorable, that will move through early on January 7th.

Cycle 1 Surface
Cycle 1 500 mb
Cycle 2 500mb Jan 3rd
Cycle 2 500 mb Jan 3rd

So you can see with these two snapshots that there is more energy in cycle 2, but the storm is farther north. In cycle 1 the main energy was in the first wave, cycle 2 it flipped. Now this system will move to the south, just like last time through in cycle one. When that happens that energy will produce. So look for Thursday or Friday as the best chance for powder. This still could be the signature storm, but it won’t be this cycle to when it delivers, but it is looking better than a week ago.

Colorado Jan 25-26th

Of the three major systems that occur each cycle, the storm for January 25 and 26th produced double digits in each cycle. When that happens it’s almost guaranteed to pay off. The first cycle the storm track had started in the Pacific Northwest and moved down through Utah and Colorado exiting in New Mexico. The second storm track took a more southern route through Tahoe. One of the characteristics of “the pattern” is that every other cycle mirrors. That means that cycle one and three are similar, and cycles two and four are similar – – each though, however, has the same systems coming through.

Cycle 2
Cycle 1

Colorado February 7-9th

This storm will be very interesting to watch in cycle three. In cycle one there was no blocking, meaning there was no ridge over the West Coast. In the second cycle the PNA (Pacific N.American Pattern)was positive and the main energy of the storm was blocked—see below. So if my theory holds true, cycle three should mirror cycle one and there should be no blocking.

Cycle 1
Cycle 2

OK so why does the pattern speed up and slow down? The picture below is a great example of how the path of the storms are affected by the ridges that can develop. These large ridges make the energy go around instead of through taking more time. When there are a lack of ridges the pattern can speed up.

Read squiggly lines blocking

Tracking the Storms (update)

2 for 2

We just correctly predicted 2 storms one 18 days and the other 31 days in advance. How did we do it? The weather is cycling. It repeats. Not every storm—some are wildcards, but there are the main parts of energy get entangled in the pattern and return regularly until summer. We have 3 predictions presently. Christmas Eve, New Year’s, and Tahoe with more to come.

Steamboat Storm Total

Our predictions have been spot on. On November 14th, we said our first 2 storms would be on December 4th and December 17th with a variance of 2 days. We have adjusted the timeline and have reduced the +/- of 1 day for future storms. The Dec 4 system was about a day and a half early and so was the incoming Dec 17 Storm.

Our next prediction is the Christmas Eve storm. This one is right on schedule as I believe we have locked in on the cycle length. This storm is still days out but I believe the GFS has the right solution. Click the “Welcome to Future Snow“ button from the menu to learn about cycle length and the recurring pattern.

Energy for the Christmas Eve Storm

Finally, our most recent predictions are the New Years Eve Storm for British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon and the Tahoe Powder Day January 3rd. I will keep you updated on these systems.
The picture of the Christmas Eve storm is a snapshot of the 500 mbar pattern with vorticity and wind. This level in the atmosphere makes it easier to spot the recurring systems. In the picture below, this is what it looked like the last time it came through.

Now remember the Dec 24 pic is still over a week out from what it will actually look like, but this is how we use computer models to verify what we know will happen. In the frame above there is that secondary wave that follows the large wave. The last time through that secondary wave sent powder alerts to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and just skirted Northern Colorado. This time through the secondary wave is being gobbled up by the ridge that is establishing.
We are in the second cycle of this year‘s pattern. Remember, it begins in October and it sets up in August and September. Once we have logged the first two cycles, we can make solid predictions for the rest of the winter. Because what happens in two cycles is almost guaranteed to repeat in every cycle afterwards. So we will lock in on the big storms, and will keep an eye on the ones that hit once, or seemed to have some variability. The first cycle was definitely stronger than the second cycle (it ain’t over yet). Typically every other cycle mirrors each other, but every years weather pattern is unique so there is now guarantee. This years cycle “winners” are Western Canada and Pacific Northwest. So if you like to chase, that’s the place to go this year. I expect Colorado to have average to above average precipitation this year, but I admit I don’t like the trend that we are in.

We are back to the active part of the pattern, after the refresh of snow the southern mountains of Colorado, like Wolf mountain are at or above average and northern mountains like summit county are below average. The central mountains are in the 90’s.

Happy New Year—Already?

Happy New Year—Already?

Ok just released our next storm for some friends in Tahoe through the website OpenSnow.com. Most of you have already heard of this site,I’m sure, but if you haven’t this is the go to site four your local mountain forecast within 10 days. WE give you the long-range forecasts so you can beat the reservation system!

New Years POW!

PNW December 28 -January 3rd

If you live in Washington, Oregon, or British Columbia, you are in for a week of wave, after wave, of storms!

Tahoe Sunday January 3rd

New Year’s eve and New Year’s Day. The last time the system came through there was a disorganized waive that sheered north and hit resorts Revelstoke, big white, Kickinghorse, and Banff/Lake Louise Canada. That system is what is occurring above—PNW. The better chance for the Tahoe region is Sunday, January 3rd. This system should bring 20+, so plan on taking Monday off.

Christmas Storm Showing up on GFS

Christmas Storm Showing up on GFS

Santa Skiing Christmas Storm
Santa prepping for Christmas Eve

The Christmas storm is showing up on the models, right on schedule. It begins with Tahoe on the 22nd.

Lake Tahoe, Heavenly, Northstar
Lake Tahoe storm December 22nd

The pacific northwest will be blasted with this storm, it will then move across Utah and finally into Colorado and New Mexico. Hopefully it’s as big as I am expecting it to be and it gives us two solid Powder days of double digit numbers.


December 4 storm for Colorado Predicted November 14 +/-2days. Results; The storm did come through, but was weaker than expected. Steamboat was the only resort with double digit snow totals in Colorado. The storm did perform much better in the Pacific Northwest, similar to how it performed last cycle.

Christmas Pow!

Approaching Storm

The storm that was predicted for the December 17th is arriving a day and a half early—we have corrected the timeline for the storms that follow. When predicting storms months in advance there can be variances in the flow (of the atmosphere) that speed up (less drag) or slow down. So there’s always that caveat of 1 to 2 day’s of when systems hit.

24 hour snowfall for the 18th

Christmas Powder

We are adding the next big storm system to our predictions. If you haven’t already, make reservations for Christmas! OK so let’s break down the storm.

December 21st spinning in the PNW

December 22nd-23rd, the storm reaches Tahoe , then Utah, and western Colorado

Christmas Eve Colorado and northern New Mexico. Christmas Day Colorado

The last time it came through it’s favored the southern mountains of Colorado, but the northern mountains did well too. Don’t forget, that all of these storms will recycle again for the next cycle. After I see the storm show up on the GFS I will release my January, February, and March Future Snow report.