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Forecast Blog

Small Storm, then a Big Storm

By February 18, 2023No Comments

Daily Snow Stake

Surface Chart

All Snow Chart

10 Day Snow Chart

Pattern Discussion

Remember last year, when Utah and Colorado resorts, would go 10 plus days without snow?  Lake Tahoe resorts would go 30 days without significant snow last year.  Well, we don’t have those long dry stretches this season.  This year’s longest dry stretch has been 6 days, with Lake Tahoe going 15 days without significant snow.  The pattern length shrunk two weeks, from 64 days last year, to 50.  Those dry stretches shrunk as well, while keeping the same amount of storm systems.  

This is a fresh MJO chart, valid today thru March 4th.  The red line is the past and the green line is the projected path.  We are in phase 7 and each dot in the green represents a day. 


Click to Enlarge










Both this year and last, saw amplification from the MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation). Last year, it only occurred once, in part of cycle 2 from December 10 thru January 8th.  This year, it has happened in all three cycles.  As we have discussed, the first two cycles had a wide-open throttle, with favorable (no blocking) conditions from the Artic Oscillation (AO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). 

This cycle, we have seen blocking from both the AO and NAO, but both are trending towards neutral, the AO has a steep dip, which is occurring now.  That rebounds and is projected to fall towards neutral, possibly go negative, towards the end of next week.

All of that was a long-winded discussion about the trend I am seeing in the models.  The trend appears to be amplified, with Tuesday’s storm benefiting from the alignment of teleconnections.  What happens during the alignment?  We have stronger storms with extra waves in between systems.  This is not science fact; it is just an observation that I have seen through the last couple of years.  With the MJO, NAO and AO aligned, Tuesday’s system looks like what has occurred in the aforementioned cycles.

Admittedly, the LRC (Lezak’s Recurring Cycle), is part art, part science.  It is part art, because we don’t have a way to quantify how/why some of these things happen.  We just know that they do–for now.  Most meteorologists have a hard time seeing the art part and dismiss this theory all together.  That’s ok, it’s nice to have it all to ourselves, for now, once the really smart people catch on, remember…you heard it first right here!  


Snow in the northern Cascades and Pacific Northwest tonight.  That system will spread across the southern Cascades and take a southeast track reaching Utah by Sunday morning and Colorado around noon.  This system is not amplified, but the models have struggled with snow totals this year so I will continue to have robust totals until I get burned.  

Another system, that is amplified, follows on the heels of Sundays storm.  This system digs into southern California with a trough developing with it on Tuesday.  Below is the GFS 500 mb chart of the flow.  500 mb is about halfway up in the atmosphere where most of the action happens.  Once the trough develops, the big clockwise moving circle (area of high pressure), off the coast of California, gets pushed farther west (because of the dip in the AO), opening the door for Lake Tahoe Tuesday.



Sunny skies today with light winds from the southeast turning to the northwest this afternoon.  Temperatures will be in the around 30-32 degrees, with the exception of Powderhorn in the west, around 20.  Tonight, there is a small chance we could see a couple of inches for the northern mountains before the lifts open tomorrow.


Snow should begin as early as 8 am, from west to east, and will be off and on throughout the day and will likely not reach the southern mountains.  I am expecting, generally, 2-4 to 3-5 for northern, along I-70 and resorts along the divide. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 20’s with moderate to strong winds 15-25 mph.

Presidents Day

Scattered snow showers throughout the day.   I am not expecting much accumulation.  Temperatures will be around 30 with strong winds with 40 mph gusts.  Southern mountains will likely be skunked with this first wave but will get in on the action Tuesday night.  Bluebird skies for Presidents Day with temperatures in the upper 30’s and light winds 10-15 mph.

Big Storm Hits Tuesday Night




It will be mostly a bluebird day with a few clouds.  High temperatures in the mid 20’s with moderate winds 10-15.


Snow arrives tonight for Brighton, Snowbird, Alta and Solitude, with not much expected for Park City and Deer Creek.  Snow totals should be in the 5-10 range with maybe 1-3 for Park City and Deer Creek. 


Snow exits early tomorrow morning and skis will clear by afternoon.  Temperatures in the mid 20’s with moderate winds from 10-15 mph.

Presidents Day

The big storm will arrive after lunch with the main energy after the lifts close.  Temperatures steady in the mid 20’s with moderate winds 10-15, but it will feel a lot colder with no sun.  Windchills near zero.


Lake Tahoe

Today thru Monday

Nice….warm, low40’s today, mid 40’s tomorrow, to upper 40’s by Monday.  Light winds.


The first storm misses north, but the second storm will dive into the Tahoe area on Tuesday.  Details coming soon.  

I’ll be in Alta Thursday

 I will be in Alta for the storm, the 23rd-26th. I have heard from a couple members that will be there, I am looking forward to taking some laps with you (Steve S and Bill T).  If you are going to be in the area let’s, get together for some runs and après.

Snow Concierge Free for Annual Members

This upcoming storm is one of the dates that I targeted for an Alta trip this year.  If you would like to know when to plan a trip, or what the weather will be when you will be at a resort, try our Snow Concierge Service, it’s included with your annual subscription.  Simply email me with your plans, or we can tell you where and when to go, using our forecasting expertise and the patent pending LRC model.

We have had over 50 people reach out to us this year, which is double the number, already, from last year.   That’s why we are here.  You can email anytime at Mike@FutureSnow.CO


This Year (click to enlarge) Precipitation Patterns


Last Year

February to Date SWE (Snow Water Equivalent)



Thank you for reading the blog, as always, if you have any questions, or need personalized info for trip forecasts, please email me at

Forecasted Areas

Pacific Northwest Cascade Mountains

Crystal MountainMount Hood MeadowsTimberline49 Degrees North,  BachelorMt Baker,

Lake Tahoe Sierra Mountains

HeavenlyPalisades TahoeKirkwoodDodge RidgeDonner Ski Ranch

Utah Wasatch Mountains

AltaPark CityDeer ValleyBrightonSnowbirdBrian Head

Colorado Rocky Mountains

AspenAspen HighlandsSnowmassVailBeaver Creek,  Winter ParkKeystoneArapahoe BasinBreckenridgeCopper MountainPowderhornSki CooperTellurideCrested ButteSilvertonWolf CreekEldoraLoveland

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