Posted April 20, 6:33 am MT 5:33 am PT
Snow Stake Cams
MSLP Surface Chart thru Apr 21
Forecast and Pattern Discussion
We have another round of snow this afternoon for Colorado, as the second wave comes through. Nice totals from yesterday, Vail, Steamboat and Breckenridge 6, Powderhorn 4, and Beaver Creek had 4. Of course, quite a few resorts are closed but don’t worry, we are going to be forecasting through May. Today’s snowfall will be in the 1-3 range. Just a couple of tenths of liquid water equivalent on the blend of models.
The next system is well on its way to Utah today, as storm 86, on your scorecard, hits this morning. This storm will bring another 5-8 inches for Alta, which is just 15 inches away from 900 for the year. Below is the Meteogram for Alta. It is a blend of 50 different model runs, stacked and averaged. It is pretty accurate five days out, but beyond that is FutureSnow territory.
There is not much liquid with today’s snowfall, but it is a cold storm, so I am expecting at least 15-1 of liquid water equivalent. The High temperature will be 22, at 4 pm, with the bulk of the snowfall occurring with the temps in the teens. Wind chills will be in the negative 2-5 range–is this December? Snow continues throughout the day and will be out by 8 pm.
The next wave is much larger, but the temps will be a little warmer. If we get at least 5 today, then it is very possible to squeeze out 10 inches out of Fridays storm. It’s going to come down to the wire. I predicted 900 by midnight on the 23rd, which was an educated guess, and a little hope too. It would be cool to have exactly 900.
Long-Range Forecast Prediction Chart Updated
We have had quite a few busts now that it’s into full-on spring. The jet stream is oscillating between a summer-like pattern and winter, but most of the storms are still coming through.
Our unrealistic average of 93.42% accuracy rate has fallen to below 90% (89.11). Which like I said many times before this year, it is easy to have a high average, due to record snowfall.
Take March for example, Alta had more than an inch of snow on 22 days. February was more challenging, with 12 days. If you guessed it would snow on any day in March you would have a 71% chance of getting it right. In February, you would have a 43% chance. We were a 100% both months—crazy.
The Sierra is still the most challenging region to forecast for, but we have come along way into figuring out how to forecast for lake Tahoe. Including when to stop forecasting. Based on the last three years, the end of March has consistently been when the Sierra storms recede.
Once we are into summer, I will go through and break down the actual total number of snowfall days for the four regions; Pacific Northwest, Sierra, Wasatch, and Rocky Mountains.
This will give us a measure of the degree of difficulty for this year vs previous years. La Niña years are much more challenging to forecast due to less frequent storms.
This year is technically a La Niña year, but the pattern flipped La Niña to El Niño. I know it’s the chicken or the egg question, but to me, the pattern controls all teleconnections and this is just an example of that process.
Thanks for all of the emails this last week! We had some great questions that I will discuss on the blog soon. It’s awesome to have such passionate people to share the love of skiing/snowboarding with!
Thanks for reading the blog, as always if you have any questions feel free to comment below, or send me an email to Mike@FutureSnow.CO
Pacific Northwest Cascade Mountains
Lake Tahoe Sierra Mountains
Utah Wasatch Mountains
Colorado Rocky Mountains
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