Big Changes On The Way!

12/2/21 Thursday 6:35 am

I really like what I am seeing in all of the recent model runs. But before I get started, I have been meaning to share something fun with all of you Snow Lovers.

I spend a lot of time looking back over historical records and occasionally come across something that leads me in a different direction. That happened not too long ago. I was looking at record snowfalls of the past and I ended up looking at the pacific northwest.

Mt. Baker ski area is a small ski area (by Colorado standards) in the northern Cascades not too far from the Canadian border. They are known for the amount of snow they get per year. They have had three 1000+ inch seasons in roughly the last 50 years. They average over 660 inches of snow per year. They set a record for snow during the 1998-1999 season: 1,140 inches (95 feet)! This was verified by NOAA.

Here was their snow stake that season.

Here it is in the summer.

They closed multiple times that season to clear snow from under the lifts. Here was their mid-mountain loading station.

Here is how it looked in the summer.

Is that fun or what?

By the way, that was not a good snowfall year for the southern portions of our forecast area. We accumulated only 60% of our average snowfall. Northern portions of the forecast area received average snowfall for the season.

As I teased earlier, I like what I am seeing in the models. In my last post, I mentioned the storm around the 7th.  I have not been very excited about it because the models have not been too consistent on the storm track or the amount of cold air.

Recently, some of the model runs have shown a classic northwest flow set-up that blanks the southern and central portions of the forecast area. Other times, it shows a more southerly track that benefits the south and misses the north. Here is the latest run of the GFS showing a favorable southern track.

Here is what it looked like 12 hours earlier.

The latest Euro supports the northerly track. The Canadian looks like a blend of the Euro and GFS.

What really has my interest is another storm at the end of next week. The timing is uncertain at this point. Some of the model runs are showing a small system coming through on Thursday followed by a bigger system, or a reinforcing shot on Friday through Saturday or Sunday. Others have shown nothing until Friday.

I talk a lot during the winter about models being right for the wrong reason. This just means that the models may be wrong about which storm brings the most snow. It could also mean that the models may be wrong about when the storms start or stop. But if you look at the total amount of snow or liquid precipitation forecasted over the extended 7 to 10 day period, they end up fairly accurate.

Here are the total liquid and snow forecasts for Euro, GFS, and Canadian models. The Euro and Canadian move the storm out of our area by late Saturday. The GFS keeps things cranking through the day on Sunday.

Euro liquid

Euro snow

GFS liquid

GFS snow

Canadian liquid

Canadian snow (likely too enthusiastic)

But fun to look at…

Here is the latest MJO forecast from the GFS ensembles.

This correlates well with the storms. It shows the MJO entering low magnitude phase 7 on Tuesday and higher magnitude phase 7 on Friday.

My next update will be Friday morning. I will discuss the extended outlook. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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