Pattern Persistance Means More “Meh”

By:  Lionel Hutz
February 1, 2013 11:37 am | Category: Weather

I know, there is only supposed to be 1 all-star break. Sorry about that. Odd scheduling anamoly. I’m working with the commish to iron out how that happened.

But we can’t go back in time and fix what happened. We can only look forward. Looking forward however, requires looking back. (I know, very space/timey).

Over the past 30 days or so a common pattern emerged that has stubbornly persisted. The primary features of this pattern have been an upper level ridge and warm high pressure out west, and deep trough with assocaited cold high pressure out east. The resulting flow of air around these features has moved low pressure waves up into British Columbia, across the Canadian Rockies and then driven them down through or to the south of our region. As I’ve said before, these impulses, given their origins in a cold continential climate are dry and rather weak. Commonly these are called “alberta clippers” and bring little rounds of snow to narrow regions.

From December thru early January these dominant features were situated so as to drive these #littlewavesofjoy right over our region. Aside from the two big snows on December 20/21 and 27, these #littlewavesofjoy were our daily bread.

However, since about- well this– the pattern has morphed. Instead of driving these little waves over us, they have been drive to our south and east. The pattern now commonly looks like this:

Late jan pattern

As a result we’ve been high and dry. And cold. Breaks came in the way of warm, wet #allstarbreaks for the east, and decent dumps out west.

Pattern persistance forecasting is based on the simple concept that the weather will do in the future, what it has been doing for the last few weeks. It is a solid concept that at times is pretty much spot on. The weakness comes during legit pattern changes. If you aren’t quick enough to spot a change you, end up making a few bad forecasts as your understanding lags reality.

Why am I talking about persistance? Well because I think the next 5-7+ days will be alot like the last few weeks. I see no real reason to expect a substantial pattern change. In the wake of that midweek mess (out west it may be remembered more fondly) we’re watching the same pattern as described above develop.

Now that’s not to say that we’re totally shut off from snow entirely. In fact there are three waves over the next 4-5 days that will bring snow to the region. The largest of which will move in sunday into Monday. Models diverge on this #littlewaveofjoy. The most consistent models have the primary weak low diving out of Canada, and redeveloping with a surface coastal low sunday into monday. Now I don’t think this coastal low will move enough N/W to bring much snow to VT, NY or much of NH. However, it may track so as to bring decent snows to Maine and then on up into the Chic Chocs (likely crushed). The best chance for snows actually comes as the old primary low, decaying and weak drifts overhead. I’ve talked about how this pattern makes a pow. A few times actually. I don’t expect this scenario to play out as well. This time the low that drifts overhead isn’t that moist and isn’t really closed off. At best I think it brings like 2-4 to the ADK and VT sunday into Monday.

After that, it’s more of the same. Few little waves skirting to the south with the potential for something bigger always lingering just beyond the event horizon. But, for now, lets believe the past predicts the future and stick with this overall summation: It is going to be seasonably cold with light snow showers every so often.

When something more exciting comes along, you know I’ll be the first to holla.

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  1. mtl_ripper
    wrote on February 1st, 2013 at 1:09 pm  

    When pattern gives you lemons…

  2. billski
    wrote on February 1st, 2013 at 9:52 pm  

    Not much to see here. Move along now….

    It’s just not worth reading about. Can you just set off an alarm when we have some “news”?

    I’m going skiing tomorrow anyways.

    p.s., thanks for sticking in there Lionel. I do believe you are the first meteorologist who actually , ever, said, “I’m sorry.” That’s spine!

  3. rtuck06
    wrote on February 1st, 2013 at 10:02 pm  

    I know its supposed to dry out for the better part of the week- but hows Utah looking next weekend?

  4. JKG
    wrote on February 6th, 2013 at 10:01 am  

    All the snappy dressers on camera are warning that decent snow may be in the wings for Friday into Saturday. Your take is eagerly anticipated.

  5. I'm a crappy skier
    wrote on February 6th, 2013 at 10:15 am  

    Hello!? All the talking heads are talking (except the one I want to hear from) about the Feb 7-8th event.

    • nihiles
      wrote on February 6th, 2013 at 3:00 pm  

      ^what he said. I broke a cardinal rule and agreed to a trip without doing my research first. Got this sick feeling of remorse growing in my stomach…

  6. Pablo
    wrote on February 6th, 2013 at 7:26 pm  

    Need a report brah need to know where to schussss

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