Model uncertainty is nothing new, but during the shoulder seasons from April-June and August-November they really struggle. This year it is worse thanks to NOAA implementing the new GFS parallel FV-3 model. After years of testing this model and delaying the release (upgrade?), they finally replaced the old GFS with the new one. NOAA has always weighted their own models pretty heavily in their forecasts. By the time that filters down to the individual forecast offices and forecasters, it creates problems. Before, most forecasters new the weaknesses of the old GFS and could look at the forecast outputs and know where it was most likely to miss or overdue precipitation or whatever parameter they were focusing on. This is something I have been struggling with as well. I know that the forecasters are frustrated because I read several Area Forecast Discussions per day. Here is an example from the NWS in ABQ: “EVEN MORE UNBELIEVABLE IS THE GFS ABOUT FACE FOR THE LATE WEEKEND FORECAST, GOING FROM 2 INCH SWATHS OF RAINFALL OVER THE CENTRAL AND EAST TO ZERO. THAT’S RIGHT, IT’S NOW WINDY AND DRY. ”
My solution is to use the Euro suite of products and hope for the best for now. Last Winter the new GFS was still in beta and it performed horribly with snowstorms, so I don’t know if I will be able to use with any confidence at all.
For today, the main moisture will stay to our south although some of that moisture may rotate up into the forecast area. I have low confidence that anything other than light accumulations will occur.
For later this week the closed low will eject northeast, possibly into our area, possibly not. Wednesday or Thursday I will follow up on that. I don’t see any reason to talk about the next storm system that will impact the Northern Rockies next week, all I can say is it is just a matter of time before one of those drops in deep enough to drop some decent snow in our mountains. Until then enjoy the cooler temperatures, I actually turned the heat on Sunday morning when I woke up.
I know that there are some seasonal forecasts coming out, I think there are still a lot of variables, the main one is sea surface temps. In the fall and winter, the Madden Julian Oscillation is a great indicator for upcoming weather (I will have a link at the end of this post to a post I did on the MJO last year). When the MJO is in phases 7,8 and 1 it indicates a strong uptick in tropical activity especially in the eastern pacific.
MJO Forecast shows it going heavily into phase 1.
This is important to us because an increase in pacific tropical activity increases the chances of early recurving storms into the Baja possibly tracking the remnant moisture into our area. Tropical Storms also cool sea surface temperatures in their path. There is a lot of warm water in the east pacific right now.
Early season snowstorms in the western US are oftentimes born as typhoons that make it to Asia then track north into the Gulf of Alaska eventually heading into the California coast.