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Forecast Blog

The Pattern

By September 17, 2020November 29th, 2020One Comment

I was once like you, I’d pick a date, make my reservation and hope. Spinning the roulette wheel, hoping for powder. One out of 10 trips I would hit it. Then, about six years ago a local weather forecaster here in Kansas City explained that the weather cycles and repeats. I was skeptical, but the more I watched and followed the pattern I became convinced there was something to it. 
So I did my research, and planned my first ski trip using “The Pattern”. Sure enough I found powder, 8” and 6” right on schedule. I didn’t have a clue how I did it, I just used the cycle length and Whistler Blackcomb’s snowfall history to predict that it would happen again—and it did. More trips and years would follow. I hit powder about 70% of the time!  
How does it work? In September and October the weather pattern sets up and becomes entrenched throughout winter,spring and summer. A cycle length (number of days) gets established and the storms repeat each cycle. Last year cycle was about 59 days. Below are some examples. October 10th last year, I coined this storm the toilet bowl. This turned out to be the signature storm of last year’s pattern. It returned December 8, February 5, April 4, June 2, and July 31. The storm carried a 1-2 punch that would last a week. Below are some examples of the 500mb charts as the storm approached Colorado. Notice how similar the snapshots are.  They are not exactly the same, there are several influences to the pattern that are different each cycle. The influences are the strength of ENSO, AO, NAO, MJO and PNA. Here’s a link that better explains the teleconnections from NOAA.

If any of you were lucky enough to be in Summit or Eagle last year before the roads closed, you were in the “Toilet Bowl”. I was at Beaver Creek when they closed the roads. Had to drive back to Breckenridge the back way, pretty dicey.

This is what is possible. It’s not perfect, but you can dramatically raise your odds than just throwing a dart at the calendar.!

Breckenridge Snow Stake
This is how you want to wake up!

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