ECMWF Weekly Maps

January 5, 2015

It’s Monday afternoon, which means 4 maps (1 for each week) from the ECMWF ensembles.  They show the 500mb height and anomaly for each of the next 4 weeks.

Week 1, we already know a big ridge is over us for the next 7 days.  No surprise here


Week 2, a change, some wet weather systems and a bit of a stormier pattern.  Could end up being on the warm side though…maybe.  Not a pattern that would produce much snow below 3,000′.  But this could give us some big dumps for the ski areas just in time for MLK weekend around the 18th.


Week 3, more action farther south into California, or what you see could be an average of several lows moving by to the south.  Looks like early December’s pattern with ridging developing to our north again while California gets soaked.


Week 4 looks similar to what we have right now.  This would say ridging returns at the end of January and early February.


Always remember, this is one run from the ECMWF model.  But always fun to look ahead, and also compare with the last two monthly runs.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Mild 1st Half of January

January 5, 2015

We are in for a very mild, and drier than normal first half of January.  If you live below 4,000′ in or west of the Cascades snow is not going to happen the next 10-15 days.  Upper-level ridging wants to hang on, just like last winter.  Actually this entire winter has seen the warmer/ridging pattern, minus a week or so around Christmas Break.  Check out the ECMWF 850mb ensemble chart.  Time goes from left to right, the zero line means 32 degree temps around 4-5,000′.  Note most of the time it’s above freezing up at Government Camp’s elevation through mid-month.  The middle of this week it’ll get up around 50 up there.  Luckily snow doesn’t melt much with the short days and weak sunshine in January even with the warm temps.  It’s the warm rain that does it.  Also note not a single ensemble member says snow levels will get even close to the valley.  Note to Weather Geeks:  Nothing interesting is happening this first half of the month, continue with your non-weather lives.  We’ve sure had some boring Januarys the past few years.


geez, the 12z GFS chart is even a bit worse for the same period:


It implies some mountain snow in time for MLK weekend…ski areas will definitely need it by then!  Of course that’s almost 2 weeks away so that could change for better, or worse.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen