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Just How Reliable Are Those 10 Day Forecasts -- Looking for a Glimmer of Hope

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Our annual Utah trip is Feb 12-16.  Weather outlook is so bleak.  Nat'l Weather Service, Accuweather, Weather.com, you name it: virtually no chance of snow for the next 2 weeks. And they seem awfully confident.  Reading the 8-14 day NWS discussion is downright depressing.

 

This got me wondering, can anyone quantify how accurate these are forecasts really are?  This year they seem to be pretty spot on.  They keep saying it won't snow, and it almost never does.  But in other years it seemed they couldn't really say what would happen 4 or 5 days out.

 

In my line of work this type of thing would be studied to death.  In other words, look at past 8-14 day projections in retrospect and score their historical accuracy. Break it down by month or season. 

 

So, is it hopeless?  Are they right most of the time?


Edited by hirustler - 2/3/12 at 8:30am
post #2 of 20

Are you trying to predict the weather, or are you trying to convince yourself that it will snow in time for your trip?  One is a job for a meteorologist, the other is for a priest.  Seriously, this year's winter in the West has been a disaster so far and it shows no signs of abating.   If you absolutely cannot afford to go on your trip and not have decent snow, cancel right now and go next year, or go to Whistler or Jackson or wherever  it has been actually snowing.  If you cannot change your plans, just prepare to make the best of bad conditions, or skip a ski day and spend the money on a spa or a nice dinner.  

post #3 of 20

Glimmer of hope...

 

From 12Z GFS model shows some a system moving in starting on the 13th... Keep in mind a lot can and WILL change by then...

http://meteocentre.com/models/get_anim.php?mod=gfs&run=12&stn=PNMPR&map=na&lang=en

post #4 of 20

Why torture yourself? I wouldn't trust anything that far out. And that's just the nature of the beast (the beast being the ski trip). At least most of the terrain is open now - not the case a few weeks ago.

post #5 of 20



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Why torture yourself? I wouldn't trust anything that far out. And that's just the nature of the beast (the beast being the ski trip). At least most of the terrain is open now - not the case a few weeks ago.



I was just giving him a glimmer of hope.

 

I'll be coming in about 10 days later... I'll still be happy hitting groomers off the John Paul lift or Regulator Johnson if we don't get any/much snow by then.  That said, I'll still be watching the weather between now and then!

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the words of encouragment. Of course I know it's a total crapshoot, but I guess obsessing about the weather is part of the psych up for the trip.  It's an unusually bad forecast this time.  Wouldn't dream of cancelling.  It will be way better than Massachusetts.

post #7 of 20

What can you do. I'll be there next week. So, to hijack another thread: 78mm or 98mm?

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm bringing my 94s not my 72s.  I think.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by hirustler View Post

I'm bringing my 94s not my 72s.  I think.



I think 94 is always appropriate for western skiing.

post #10 of 20

Heading to summit county next weekend...98s all the way baby.  Of course, it is easy to be so declarative with a one ski quiver...biggrin.gif

post #11 of 20

My 96mm skis are packed, t-minus 8 hrs and counting...

post #12 of 20

 

Quote:

Long range forecast / discussion...February 09 to 12

--A storm moves in off the Pacific by the 7th/ 8th, with mostly light snowfall possible as it moves in out of the southwest/ west. It looks like high pressure ridging across the west may hold until mid February. Despite this ridge, some rogue storms and snowfall are still possible for Utah from mainly the 10th-15th. We are watching for potentially more significant snow as we move into the 2nd half of February.

We have a moderate La Nina SST pattern in place through the winter, starting to weaken now, and expected to weaken into summer 2012. We expect increased storminess across the west in mid February as the pattern changes back to unsettled. CM

I'll be out there around the same time...16-20.  I kept bumping this trip back since conditions have been so poor.  The above forecast offers some hope...but will have to see.  My buddies who live in UT said the locals keep saying "we are due" and the odds would say they are.  However, this year...there just has not be consistent snow (at least in UT) and after last year's epic season its leading to bit of a hangover feel for everyone.  I'm planning on the worse and hoping for the best.  At least I'll be skiing.   Back East..its been so warm that I've golfed a ton.  That's at least given me a distraction since its been a disappointing ski season. 

post #13 of 20

Not to jinx it but the forecasts and models are all promising good things for the foreseeable future.  

 

Have you powder skis ready!

 

 

post #14 of 20

Yup. Your prayers look like they're gonna get answered.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

Yup. Your prayers look like they're gonna get answered.

 

Maybe, maybe not. It seems like the door is opening, but who knows what will come through? We might get 6" this week or 6'.

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

There is a glimmer of hope after all.  Several storms are lined up in the Pacific.  They're pegged to "split" over Utah, but maybe one of them will surprise to the upside.

 

It does confirm the 10 day forecast is pretty useless. 

post #17 of 20

The 16-day GFS is looking good, but those things change every day as well. Will be there Feb. 21-27, hope the forecast holds up.

post #18 of 20

I'm there in same time frame and have also been looking closely at forecasts, including GFS. My sense is that the forecasting is really difficult right now. Model runs change from run to run. Out past 6-7 days really difficult to say. Even on the model runs, Wasatch seems to be on the western edge a bit because of this damn high pressure in pacific pushing storms to north and then down through USA. Looks like some precip gets through from time to time, but as is the story this winter, not really seeing big winter storms with a direct hit on Wasatch. The good news is that my expectations this winter have gone down quite a bit so any snow seems like a powder day.    

post #19 of 20

It looks like I may catch a few inches of fresh tomorrow before flying back east on the redeye.

 

I'm still contemplating where to go in LCC or BCC for my last day.

post #20 of 20

I think at least 8 inches fell at Alta so far. Anyone coming in this week is in for a great time. Just watch the skis, there are still areas of low cover now masked by some powder and they can really screw with your bases.

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