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.
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.
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.
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.