Archive for January, 2014

The Vortex…………….Please!

Thursday AM:


Just a note of something to possibly look forward to for next winter…..

The CPC just released their ENSO outlook and it was indicated that their climate model consensus are showing an increasing chance of an El Nino for next Fall.

Of Note:

The majority of models predict that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5oC and 0.5oC) will persist into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014 (Fig. 6).  While current forecast probabilities are still greatest for ENSO-neutral during summer, there is an increasing chance for the development of El Niño.  The consensus forecast is for ENSO-neutral to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014 (see CPC/IRI consensus forecast).


From Wednesday:

Wow! So much chatter these days about the (PV) Polar Vortex. Ever since the Green Bay Game…it’s like this is a new word in the average persons vocabulary. Today I saw an advertisement on Book called a Vortex Sale to Warm Weather Resorts. You could elect to choose the Vortex  X20,30,40 or X50.  Not sure if they were selling resorts or the actual depth of the PV.  😉

The Dweebs have been chatting about the Vortex for years.  Only I have referred to it as the Hudson Bay Low in the WInter.  Here is one for the WX-MAN. “A deep Hudson Bay Low is a California Skiers Woe”.

It is all about the wave length. Rossby Wave Therory says that there is definite relationship between the amplitude of the West Coast Ridge and the Trof in the east.  We are going to get one heck of a bump in amplitude next week. The upper mid west better look out because its “The Vortex II” coming late next week to a neighborhood near by!  This time it may be worse as there is going to be a lot more snow cover to assist thermally!

For Mammoth, its the same story. The upper ridge will either deflect short waves to the north, or they’ll plow through the ridge and weaken. Some may even split. There is the chance of some light snowfall from the one this Saturday.


Dr Howard and the Dweebs…………………:-)



Another Dry Week ahead for California…….However some Light Snow showers possible later this week……Long Range Outlook still shows well below normal precipitation for California…….

Through the ugliness of the pattern, we should all be thankful of the great job Cliff Mann and Mammoth Mt has been doing,  keeping so many acres open via snowmaking with good skiing and Boarding. I understand that skiers and boarders are coming from all areas of the west to ski Mammoth Mountain as ski conditions are the best in the west!   I will have more detail on all this in the next day or two…


The Dweeber…………………….:-)


I just had a look at the 360 hour ECMWF Ensembles and Control Ensembles.  They are Baaaad to the Bone.  I mention this as I have had a lot of my blog followers sending me copies of both the Canadian and GFS ensembles and control ensembles as of late. As a comment…. I do not know why but the ECMWF model is far superior in their Long Range forecast so what ever the Europeans are putting in their modeling they do it better than both the Canadians and the Yanks!  And I consider myself a patriot!  Just ask O’Reilly! 😉   Did I spell that right.  I thought that it was I before E except after C.

The Good news I hear from a reliable source is that NCEP is about to get some money left over from the grant money for Hurricane Sandy. It has been touted that a major upgrade to the GFS is coming later this year.  So hang in their Dweebs and Weather Weenies, help and salvation is on the way! It’s probably not a cure for this ugly drought, but at least when the EC says there’s no hope for two weeks, the GFS will be in agreement!


Tuesday AM:

Lots of high clouds are streaming in from a subtropical upper low NE of the Big Island of Hawaii. This upper low is kinda like a Kona Low. However, it is displaced about 15 degrees to the east along 150W. It is tapping deep tropical moisture from the ITCZ, south to 8 degree north. The plume, should it make it to the west coast would bring a bonanza of rain to Ca. However, that is not going to happen. Instead, it is effectively being blocked by a subtropical ridge, anchored well west of Southern Baja.

So what we have going on now… a weakening of the west coast ridge in response to the excessive wave length caused by the exit of the east coast trof moving out over the Atlantic. This is allowing high level moisture to move into our region as well as some weak short waves with some light precipitation possibilities Thursday and over the weekend.

The west coast ridge this winter thus far has been extremely effective in keeping CA dry. During many drought patterns/years, we at the least get trofs splitting as they move on shore over California, which may be a nuisance for forecasters as their forecast credibility tends to diminish.  However this year so far,  WX forecasters have probably had one of their best forecast years percentage wise, simply because it has been a fair weather forecast for weeks!

Over the past month, the upper ridge has been shifting east and west between about 140W and 120W. If it were to occasionally shift a bit further east….The west coast would be teleconnected into a positive PNA pattern. As a result, we would probably have more of a central West Coast splitting pattern as well. But at the least we would get some snowfall.


On an optimistic note, there is some suggestion in the CFS and GFS that out in time, called (fantasy land), there may be a change that will affect the eastern pacific ridge and allow a branch of the westerly’s into California, beginning about the 20th of January.  Remember, this is only a chance as the ECMWF (EURO) does not show that.  On another optimistic note, we are now getting to a point in time that on a statistical basis, that some thing should break through and give us a storm that would give us a few inches of water over a couple of days. As even in the driest years, we can get a day or two of a good shot of snowfall……then go dry again.

So to add it all up…

Lots of high clouds the next 5 days….  Some snow showers possible Thursday AM and again Late Saturday. Both of these waves will bring a cooler air mass to the area and that is a good thing as Mammoth Mt can continue to make snow. Each one of these short waves may bring anywhere from nothing to as much as a couple of inches.

Beyond the coming weekend we ridge up with vengeance through much of the following week. Remember, during the last 10 days of this month, there is a chance of some snowfall.  That period begins not next week but the week after……


Dr Howard and the Dweebs………………………………………….:-)




This mornings guidance still shows the same sad story for precipitation possibilities…..   As although the Eastern Pacific ridge will weaken… coming through the ridge will weaken as well keeping them moisture starved. I counted 5 weak short wave that will come though this week. Only two of them have the possibly of bringing some snow showers or a short period of light snowfall over the upper elevation’s. At the moment, only a few hundreds of an inch is forecasted this week over the high country through Sunday.


Temperatures will be a bit cooler this week and there will be periods of winds over the Sierra Crest. Expect high temps in the 40s and lows in the teens and 20s this week.  There will be two periods of some very light  precipitation. It looks to be Thursday and Saturday night. Week two is also looking dry.   Climate models show a chance of a change in the pattern about the end of the month.  However, it is only a chance…..


Here are some tips that you can do to be proactive about water conservation………


Tips on conserving water:

• Water landscaping only when necessary, and only in morning or evening.  In winter, most yards need watering only once a week (currently this is for residents of the Owens Valley)

• Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, gutters and decks.

• Install automatic shut-off nozzles on all hoses.

For Mammoth Residents:

• Turn off water at the sink while brushing teeth, shaving and washing up. Take shorter showers.

• Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.

• Fix leaky faucets.

• Install water-wise appliances, like low-flow toilets and shower-head and faucet aerators.

Later this Spring:

• Replace your lawn with native plants and a drip irrigation system.

Source: Association of California Water Agencies,

Persistance in the Current WX pattern to Continue Through the End of this Week…………Some Changes in Store Next Week……………

Sunday AM Update:


Fridged air mass invaded North Dakota this morning and will make its way to Western Wisconsin by 6:00pm Local time.  The coldest portion of the air mass arrives well after the Packers game is over.  This is a timing issue and a good thing for the players and fans….  Don’t get me wrong, it will be cold, but not nearly as cold as the 1967 game.

As the (PV) Polar vortex swings through the great lakes region and eventually redevelops east of Hudson Bay Tuesday morning, the trailing Upper Trof  finally kicks its way out over the Atlantic Tuesday afternoon.  As mentioned before, this creates an excessive wave length and allows the west coast ridge to:

1st: Weaken

2:  Retrograde to 140west by mid week next week.

3. So the 1st system that comes through the ridge Tuesday washes out with just clouds for us.  The Second system is an interior CA slider bringing wind, cooling, and some light snowfall Thursday.

The QPF is pretty light at the moment. About 1 to 3 inches in town. The crest might get 3 to 5 inches by Friday AM..  Maybe……..


Than that’s it for quite a while


The Dweeber………………………………:-(


No Change from the last discussion other than to mention that there will be a couple of small systems coming through the weakened west coast ridge next week that may bring some light snowfall to the Eastern Sierra.  Like a comet that emerges after a trip around the sun….there is no telling from this distance in time, what will be left of the two systems once they emerge through the west coast ridge into California. In the meantime, it will be a little cooler Saturday night and Sunday due to some cooler air following an Ajax/Aspen, Co Slider. So a little increase in Sierra Crest wind is possible Saturday afternoon into Sunday AM.  Upper ridge Rebuilds into Following weekend…..

PS….. Is little Nells still in Aspen? Use to work for the Aspen Ski Corp Winter of 1973, top of chair 6. Someone let me know…..


The Dweeber……………….


Taking a look at the new 12z Thursday GFS deterministic model, and last nights EC, there is a chance of a small storm sneaking in here about the 9th.  Here is what the Dweebs are looking at.   1st of all I will preface this by saying that for sometime now the CFC has had something getting in here about the middle of January. I know that is the pretty amorphous, however, there are some changes down stream that may allow some energy upstream to get in here for some light snowfall later next week.

From what I can see, in the coming days….the big polar vortex over Canada that will put the big freeze to the northern mid west,  and then eastward will be shifting out over the Atlantic early next week. The key here is that it opens up a big wave length between the vortex (PV) and the west coast ridge. Even through this ridge is still very much alive and well in the eastern pacific, it gets weakened. Weakened enough to allow some short wave action into the west coast between the 7th and 9th of January.   The ECMWF has a few systems coming in from the northwest that would bring us some light snowfall. And yes, they may be inside sliders. However, they may not be as well. This mornings 12z deterministic GFS run actually splits the ridge with a short wave coming toward the central west coast Thursday then moving SE making landfall near San Diego.   Because of the distance in time, there will be other solutions to this particular short wave…the wave of Thursday January 9th.

If this wave spins up and moves into Southern Ca, we may get some upslope/wrap around.  However, the main message here is that this is the classic system that will affect parts of California in a drought pattern, giving coastal sections of Ca some light precip. If by some remote chance the system split out to sea further north….Central California would do better and we might get lucky with a foot.   At this time…..It is too far out for any confident forecast to determine what track it will finally take.

What I like about the change in the pattern is that an excessive wave length is finally forecasted to occur next week.  I like to give credit to some of my mentors when due…..So Tom C…thanks for the memories…….


The Dweeber…………………….:-)