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New Pattern Discussion

By November 4, 2023No Comments

Posted November 4, 2023


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Pattern Discussion 

Storm Tracks for October

The above chart shows the track of the storms affecting the west thru the month of October.  The first storm was at the end of September and exited around October 4th.  This track has a typical U shape and we have had this type of path the last few years, I usually call it a U Storm. 

The second system that came thru (Oct 12-16) brought double digit totals for Utah and 8 inches for A Basin.  This track is new to this year and resembles tracks during the 20-21 season.  

The last storm that came thru (Oct 24-27) was unique in some ways.  It was a two-wave system that rode the jet stream and had a unique path, due to high pressure off the west coast. This storm will be interesting to watch in the upcoming cycles to see the different ways it can present.  

Below are the precipitation patterns for the months of August and September, followed by the water year for 22-23. The arrows are the general position of the storm tracks for the month.  During August and September, the storm track stays mainly in Canada.  you can see the average track in September (lower arrow) is a little lower than the August average. 

In October, we begin to get the systems diving farther south, as we see in the map above.  Finally, by November, and December, the storm track reaches its deepest point.  What drives the storm track?  The jet stream.

When we compare the three charts above with the water year chart below, we can see a major change in where the precipitation is falling.  In August, we saw similar precipitation pattern that we have seen since October, last year, with the exception of California, where it was dry compared to the year prior. 

September’s new storm track and pattern change has begun to show up in the monthly accumulation.  You can begin to see the new track that spans the Pacific Northwest to Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. 

That similar track continues through October, and a new Gulf influence has established itself.  Southern California Arizona and New Mexico are dry.  If this pattern continues, we will see Lake Tahoe on the edge of the main track, meaning some storms will miss, but amplified storms will bring huge Atmospheric Rivers (AR’s). Feast or famine.



The Pacific Northwest is the place to be so far, for precipitation at least.  Mixed precipitation will continue today thru Monday as snow levels will oscillate between 10,000 to 7,000 feet–add a thousand feet for Oregon resorts.  The main event begins Monday night when temperatures drop.  This is Test Prediction Nov 9 for Colorado.  As of now, the storm takes a “track 1” path.   Moving east southeast that will likely clip northern Utah and central and northern Colorado.  

We will see the best chance for 6-12 inches likely for Washington resorts.  I will monitor this storm and have a fresh blog Monday.  Mostly all rain for Oregon.

Back to Utah and Colorado.  It does not look like a big producer, maybe 4-8 for central and northern resorts in Colorado.  As of now, the models are not in agreement with how much snow northern Utah resorts.  There should be some snow Monday night thru Wednesday morning.  If I had to guess, I’d say 3-6 inches.  

Now Colorado, the storm arrives around Tuesday night thru Thursday.  It does not look like a big producer, maybe 4-8 for central and northern resorts. 

Next Update Monday Morning

Test Predictions +/- 2 Days

Nov 9th             Colorado (not on the GFS)

Nov 17th           PNW

Nov 18th           Utah

Nov 19th           Colorado

Nov 22nd          Tahoe (maybe)

Nov 23rd           Utah

Nov 24th           Colorado

Nov 27th           Tahoe

Nov 28th           Utah

Nov 29th           Colorado

There they are, the first set of test predictions. We will see how they lineup with this year‘s pattern. They could be off by up to two days, if the storms are not anywhere close then it’s back to the drawing board.

I have not included Canada or the Pacific Northwest (PNW) in these predictions, so if you are from those regions, email me and I’ll tell you when those storms will roll through.

There are more storms for the PNW and Canada in the pattern so far.  It may be one of those years where a trip to Powder Highway, Whistler, Banff or Revelstoke my be the preferred location for those who go where the powder is—still way too early to tell.

When I think of where we were last year at this time, we did know that the drought was likely going to end for Lake Tahoe. On November 1, last year, we published the LRC model forecast that predicted over 140% of average for Lake Tahoe, with 70 to 100% of average for the PNW.

This year based on how the pattern is setting up, I would predict the Pacific Northwest to be 110 and 130% of average. We’re going to have a LRC model run soon.   Of course we will share that with you when it’s out. 


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