We are in the middle of the predicted storm and the next storm system is coming through on the 7-8th. The winners so far are the southern Mountains of Colorado and Lake Tahoe region. The storm for February 7-8th is showing up on GFS and looks correct, meaning the models have the correct solution. This is one of the features of the Cycling Pattern is you know when the models are right or wrong based on the template of what has happened before. The influences (AO, NAO, PNA, MJO etc) are different and have to be factored in, but the general picture is similar. The last time this system came through was on day 33 and 34 of last cycle which was December 23 and 24th. Canadian resorts were favored with Kickinghorse reporting 13”, Banff 16”, Crystal Mountain 9” and Mount Hood 8”. Alta had a great powder day of 18+. Tahoe did get snow but not very much Squaw had 4”. The Colorado resorts were all in single digits with Arapaho Basin and Breckenridge reporting 6”. this time around the cycle is stronger so I expect the totals to be higher. Stay tuned.
The Storm door opens this weekend and the system predicted 42 days ago will begin Monday morning for mountains in Washington and Oregon. The storm that was predicted on December 13th. We have been talking about the storm door opening up and it is finally here! The storm predicted for Colorado impacts the west coast early on the 24th arriving in the southern mountains of Colorado Monday morning. For Lake Tahoe region it has been an especially long wait. The picture above is the first wave coming through. It’s not very impressive, but it kicks the door open for better things to come behind it. So back to that storm that begins on the 24th. The first wave actually begins on the 23rd and materializes through the southwest hitting Utah and western Colorado. This happened in the second cycle and the current cycle is taking a similar track. Park City 13” last cycle on days 22-23. Squaw had 10” over a 4-day stretch—days 22-25. Below is last cycle and this coming Saturday.
Once that wave moves through the trough digs deep into the Rockies. A little more linear this time through with the next wave behind just like cycle 2.
With the storm door open, here is the precipitation forecast for snow depth change over the rest of the month. You’ll notice some light grays in there, those are in the 3 to 4 feet range.
Well we are in the boring stretch of “the pattern“. we are beginning to see signs of life. In both cycles to date, there was a 13 day stretch where very little precipitation occurred in the western US. There were a few storms that stayed well to the north and it is happening again in cycle 3. However the weak systems that came through in past cycles are gaining strength in the present cycle, because January and February are the strongest months of the Pattern. The ridge in the west is right on schedule but is in slightly more favorable location, this cycle, for storms to reach Colorado. They won’t be much but at least they will get something. ‘The storm door should be open around the 20th with a more linear flow of the coast. So that gets us to the signature storm of the 20/21 pattern. I expect it to dig further south this time through and I expect it to hit the Tahoe area with a more direct path instead of a glancing blow. I can’t guarantee it will hit, because Tahoe is on the southern edge of this years pattern, but I think it will—fingers crossed. The storm system coming the 23-24th should loo similar to the last 2 times it came through, positively tilted with energy extending deep into Canada. I have it projected ti hit Whistler beginning on the 22nd.
This last picture is just another version of the December 11 system. The circle in blue is part two. So if the set-up is similar to the December storm then we could have two pretty nice systems a day apart, or if it’s like the first time through, we need the energy to dig deeper south. The Cycling Pattern usually mirrors itself, meaning cycle 1 resembles cycle 3 and cycle 2 resembles cycle 4 and so on. So my main inclination is that it’ll be more like the first time through. However, early in the first cycle the pattern is “finding its identity”. So this next time through will set the stage for how the present cycle will behave. The next Pattern system after that is February 7-8th.
We are in the part of the pattern where the Heady/LRC becomes clear. We have completed 2 cycles and have compiled 92 days (1,152 GFS snapshots) worth of data, snow totals from resorts and not to mention all of the data from August and September where the pattern developed. I am releasing Future Snows predictions out to March 12th, as well as the results from every prediction to date.
January 25-26 Let’s dive into the predictions for the upcoming storms. January 25-26 for Colorado. This prediction was made back on December 13th. This storm occurs on days 21-23 of each cycle. The first time through back on December 26 Vail received 10” snow and additional rain, the second time through 12”. January and February are usually the strongest producing cycles, so let’s hope in this La Niña year it comes through. When I compiled this report I added Utah resorts, specifically Alta for January 25-26. I don’t have resort need it for the first cycle, however it’s clear by GFS that they received precipitation. The second time through they get 15”. Lake Tahoe was missed the first cycle, but did receive snow on the second cycle. So I will give Lake Tahoe a “maybe” as they are on the edge of this year’s pattern.
The storm is for Utah resorts, specifically Alta February 7-8. Alta received 12” during the first cycle, and 20” during the second cycle. For Colorado resorts the first cycle kicked off a week of storms on days 34 through 41. Vail received 25” during that week with the southern resort of Wolf Creek 28” of powder over 3days. The second time through four Colorado resorts was not as productive. They’ll get a paltry 4” during the first wave and an additional 9” with the second wave. In past years, cycle three has been more like cycle 1, but stronger—let’s hope that continues but either way, it will be an active period. Lake Tahoe was missed on the first wave, but picked up 13 inches at Sugar Bowl on dates 36 and 37. Lake Tahoeyou get a strong maybe—I’ll give you a heads up if it appears the storm is big enough on the model runs.
February 18 –19
The February 18 storm kicks off in the Pacific Northwest. I added this storm January 3 which is 46 days out from this publication. The Pacific Northwest is getting the snow this year. The snow goes somewhere every year and obviously this year it’s PNW and Canada. In the first cycle Crystal Mountain received snow from days 41 through 46 of the pattern. The only reported Snowfall came on day 45 and 46 when they started recording at the resort (15”). During the second cycle over the same time period hey received 33”. It’s a safe bet that Valentine’s Day is when the storm will begin but the best days should be the 18-19th for Crystal Mountain.
Colorado Resorts. Cycle 4 storm on days 21-22 of the cycle. I’ll update this prediction after cycle 3.
One of the cool things about the Heady/LRC pattern is you know when certain storms are going to reoccur. Here’s a good example of the pattern—the bomb cyclone that hit the Aleutian Islands.
Heads up Alaska, this storm will return Presidents Day1. The cyclone set records for the strongest 921mb storm to hit Alaska. Luckily it was too far west to cause any damage. Will the storm be stronger next time through? I can’t answer that, but we know when it will return .
Update for Presidents Day 2-2-21
At the end of the model reach, today’s model run, 384 hours out, has the energy in the right place for the next Bomb Cyclone. It will be fun to watch this develop over the next couple of weeks.