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Tale of 2 October’s

By November 11, 2021November 15th, 20212 Comments

October of ‘21 and October of ‘20 couldn’t be more different. Last year was very weak, precipitation wise. In these next set of pictures the evidence for a more exciting pattern is obvious. Will it continue, you bet it will. That is what the Pattern does.

Total precipitation October 2020

Total precipitation October 2021

2020-21 pattern

Looking at the ‘20 map, the glaring hole in the southwest sticks out at first glance. California had the 2nd driest water year (Oct 1 to Sept 30) on record. The pattern tracked north of California and only the biggest storms were wide enough to hit the sierras. The dividing line between the halves and the have-nots was in the cascade mountains. Washington mountains had well above average precipitation, while just a couple hundred miles to the south, Mt Hood and Mt Bachelor had just average.

When looking at the ‘20 map, the red streaks in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) show the path of the Pattern. Just like the streaks in the south that move to the northeast, show the path of the hurricanes.

The next map shows the main track, the northern track, and the hurricane track. As the jet stream strengthens during winter, the Pattern path gets wider and the storms get larger.

In regard to the hurricane track, there are hurricanes that repeat from one year to the next. We accurately predicted hurricane Ida this year in April. Our 2022 forecast for hurricanes: it will be a mild hurricane season with an 80% probability of landfall on the Gulf side of Florida and Cancun Mexico. We will update this forecast with probable dates in the spring.

2021-22 Pattern

Now look at the ‘21 map. At first glance there are no “donut holes”. The west coast is lit up with reds. The California drought is over and it will be a good year for the sierras. Next, you will notice that the path of the Pattern is hard to see. That is good, it means the path is large and the intensity of the storm systems are greater than the ‘20 pattern.

Even though both this year and last year are La Niña’s, the conditions are different enough to add more moisture, or fuel, to the systems that follow the pattern. Also, the pattern path is more inclusive to the west coast and central mountains.

We have a complete redesign of the website that will be installed soon, so I am looking forward to sharing that with you. As always if you have any questions feel free to comment in the comment section or email to


  • Peter says:

    Do you think the outlook is as bleak as the ensemble and operational models have shown consistently for the rest of the month for northern Utah? Hoping the pattern is seeing something the models aren’t. We’ve already had to delay our opening day in Park City and none of the data I have access to is giving me any confidence in anything of substance for the foreseeable future. Would appreciate any insight. Thanks.

  • Mike Holm says:

    Looking at the latest model run has precip Tuesday night with high snow levels, then Sat 20th could bring 2-8″.
    We are in the northern track part of the Pattern until around the 24th-25th, then the west will become active. There will be good storms in Utah (27th). That will kick off a 2 week stretch of good storms with perhaps the biggest storm on Dec 14th.
    Hang in there!

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