Really quickly before I get into the details of the storm coming I wanted to make a comment about Joe Bastardi leaving Accuweather yesterday. Joe was with accuweather for 32 years and during that time became famous for his hurricane season predictions and long-range seasonal outlooks. He is the one that makes the winter predicition maps for the country that come out in the fall and that I post on this site. His blog on the professional site served as a classroom of ideas on long-range weather patterns for thousands of amateur & professional weather forecasters. Joe came up with many theories on his own that sometimes seemed crazy but often times were right.

One of the things that made him famous was that he was not afraid to make a detailed forecast long-range. Even though sometimes he would be dead wrong you got to learn the theories for his thinking and the reasoning behind why a forecast was a bust and learn from it. On my about page I mention that I have used some of his research and methods in my own reasearch. Although Joe mainly posts on the weather in the East he would once in a while throw us a bone like the quote I posted in January where he said, “watch out in the West the second half of February into March you could see a seasons worth of winter.” With the loss of Ed Berry last year and Joe Bastardi this year it will push us amateurs to continue to build on the theories they left us with our own theories on long-range forecasting.

So back to the storm coming our way. Two more days of sun and highs in the 20′s today and tomorrow before the clouds increase on Thursday as the next storm tracks down the West coast. With the ridge in the North Pacific driving air down from the North this storm will bring some of the coldest air of the season, especially during a snowstorm. This storm reminds me of the Christmas Eve storm in 2008 where we don’t have a lot of moisture to work with, but with extremely high snow:water ratios we will see significant snowfall.

The snow should begin Thursday night and last through Friday night bringing 1-2 inches of liquid. To narrow it a little more let’s go with 1.25-1.75 inches of liquid. Temps will be in teens Thursday night & even Friday above 7000 ft., and then the single digits Friday night. Snow ratios will be between 15:1 & 30:1 throughout the storm, but let’s take an average of 20:1 at lake level and 25:1 above 7000 ft. Multiply that by the liquid and we should see snow totals of 1.5-3 feet at lake level, with 2.5-4 feet above 7000 ft. and possibly more along the crest. If you thought the snow quality was amazing last week wait until this Friday & Saturday.

There are a couple of discrepencies in the models on how fast the storm moves out on Saturday & how much moisture it can pull from moisture coming under the ridge. Some models have us clearing out by morning and other have the snow lasting through the day on Saturday. The fastest models with a limited moisture tap put us at the lower end of the forecasted snowfall and the slowest models with the biggest moisture tap could add another 6-12 inches to the forecasted totals. Will have to watch this closely over the next day or two.

Looking at next week the forecast over the past two weeks of the ridge setting up further West again near the Aleutian Islands is being shown by the models. Another low will work its way down the coast the beginning of next week while a storm comes under the ridge in the North Pacific. It looks as if the low will pull the storm into the West coast by Tuesday or Wednesday. This storm would be quite strong with a subtropical tap and cold air filtering in from the low to the North. We will be talking normal snow ratios of 10-12:1 but still see significant snow due to the amount of liquid.

This pattern looks as if it could continue with a ridge near the Aleutians, lows coming down its East side from the North Pacific down the West Coast, and moisture coming underneath the ridge and into the West Coast. It could be the perfect pattern for big snowstorms next week and the week after. Things can always change in the long-range, but looking at the teleconnections there is nothing yet to suggest the storm door closing. We may just have to wait for the jetstream to weaken as we go into spring. I told you the 10 feet last week was just the beginning. BA

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