The Wasatch, the Gulf of Alaska and the Great Basin

Sometimes, we all need a little bit of reality to bring us back to earth. After a strong forecast to start the year in New York, it didn’t go quite that well in Logan. The various topographies of the northwestern US and the proclivity for cyclonic development in the Gulf of Alaska made for a rough day of forecasting. The primary cause of the misguided forecast were the low temperatures that arose on Monday the 8th. Well, that and how warm it got on Tuesday. Oh, and for many, the snow that lasted into Monday morning when many thought there would be a longer break. I guess there were a few issues. On a more positive note, there was a tie at the top between The Weather Channel, Accuweather and the National Weather Service.
Actuals: Monday, January 8th -.03″ of precipitation in snow, High 25, Low 2
Tuesday – .04″ of precipitation in snow, High 36, Low 11

Grade: D

Logan, Utah

We’re going to head to northern Utah, away from the real weather of the week, because that simply how we operate here at Victoria-Weather. Constantly missing the point.

At 851 PM, MT, Logan was reporting light snow and a temperature of 22 degrees. As the well advertised storm system begins to emerge in the southern High Plains, some of the same energy is bringing snow to the Wasatch Range. The sharp, strong trough that is the culprit behind the weather this week will transition out of the inter-mountain west by midday tomorrow, leaving the potential for some more flurries to continue into tomorrow morning in Logan.
The rest of the day and early Monday look as though they will continue to be tranquil thorough the early part of the day on Tuesday as well. The next upper level wave in the jet structure is rippling through the Gulf of Alaska, preparing to bring more wet weather to the Pacific Northwest. The storm system will press moisture beyond the Cascades and as far as northern Utah by Tuesday evening. It’s going to remain chilly in Logan, so precipitation is going to fall as snow, and will predominantly fall in higher terrain.
Tomorrow – A lingering flurry early, then increasingly sunny, High 25, Low 13
Tuesday – Sunny early, clouds and snow return late, High 27, Low 16

TWC: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine. High 25, Low 10
Tuesday – Cloudy with snow showers becoming a steady accumulating snow later on. High 30, Low 14

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy High 22, Low 9
Tuesday – Cloudy with a little snow High 30, Low 12

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 24, Low 9
Tuesday – Snow, mainly after 11am. High 29, Low 11

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy in the morning, then becoming sunny (Early snow) High 17, Low 13
Tuesday – Breezy. Snow likely in the morning then snow in the afternoon. High 23, Low 13

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 24, Low 13
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy with light snow, High 30, Low 11

CLI: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 24, Low 12
Tuesday – Blowing snow, High 32, Low 15

I’ll tell you what, these mountain forecasts sure get a lot of different forecasts. It doesn’t help that Utah doesn’t ever have an over head satellite image. You can see most of the snow is over the mountains.

Fresh info, top forecast

When we forecast for Logan over the weekend, I noted that some of the outlets were trending away from each other, and I suspected that it was because the model guidance updated, and some outlets jumped on the changes and others hadn’t updated their forecast yet. I presumed I had the freshest data, and if that was the case, then that was what led to Victoria-Weather’s forecast victory for Logan. The new data was cooler overnight, which was the fate that befell Logan.
Actuals: Saturday, High 51, Low 23
Sunday, High 55, Low 24

Grade: A – F

Logan, Utah

Winter is fast approaching, which is great news for members of the skiing and snowboarding community. The Wasatch are certainly poplar spots for that winter weather activity, but are we there yet?

At 951PM, MT, Logan was reporting a temperature of 29 degrees with clear skies and a light northwest wind behind a weak cool front that passed by earlier this morning. Clear skies prevailed across the Beehive State, with a ridge of high pressure nosing into the area from the west.
The jet structure is going to bubble around the Intermountain West, with a southern jet beginning to trough and engender some development in the Mexican Desert, while a ridge will only strengthen in the northern Plains. This will lead to some sustained stability, and late season warmth in Logan.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 51, Low 23
Sunday – Sunny, High 55, Low 20

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 51, Low 26
Sunday – Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. High 56, Low 26

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 49, Low 24
Sunday – Brilliant sunshine High 55, Low 21

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 51, Low 26
Sunday – Sunny High 57, Low 29

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 40, Low 29
Sunday – Sunny, High 48, Low 32

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 51, Low 27
Sunday – Mostly Sunny, High 57, Low 27

CLI: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy, High 50, Low 25
Sunday – Partly Cloudy, High 54, Low 25

All right, here is my guess: The top three outlets and Clime updated their forecasts with the new model guidance already, and the NWS just hasn’t. Guidance clearly is showing a chilly Sunday morning, and it’s already busted on the warm side, so trending colder makes more sense. With this confusion, let’s check with a local perspective, from KSL in Salt Lake City.

Logan, Utah to Greensboro, North Carolina

Boy, we know when to pick these cross country trips. This trip, into the teeth of one of the most significant storms for the Upper Midwest in decades, will last 4 days in ideal conditions, though these will be less than ideal. It’s 2065 miles between the systems, and right now is prognosticated to have a pace of 66.6mph, which will lead to a perhaps aspirational 533 miles a day. Day 4 will be a hair shorter than the rest, but they are all going to feel long, I reckon.

DAY ONE (Tuesday)

Logan, Utah

The entirety of our route on Tuesday will be in a at least a winter storm warning, while some stretches of southern Wyoming are in a blizzard warning. I think the heaviest snow will be in Montana tomorrow, though we will be seeing snow around Logan as we set forth. Wind will be on the increase throughout the day, but we will probably be dry from time to time from Kemmerer to Rock Springs, then even more sparsely through the remainder of the state of Wyoming. Assuming we keep our pace, we will be just ahead of the worst of the snow, but any flurries we see will be wind driven and challenging. The day will end in Sidney, in the Nebraska Panhandle. Batten down the hatches, it is going to be a long night.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
This is definitely our most imagination driven day. The heavier snow is going to sink south into Nebraska, along with a cold frontal wind, and it is not out of the question that blizzard conditions will grip most of I-80 in Nebraska. If that’s the case, then the road might simply be closed. The nasty parts of the storm will be cut off by a dry slot nosing north into the Omaha and Nebraska City regions, and we might even get some dry air after we leave the freeway in Lincoln. Expect to see drier condition as we head south, west of a cold front that will, by this point, have advanced into Iowa and Missouri. We will end the day in Kansas City, and be extremely grateful for it.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
The nasty storm is going to focus it’s wrath to our north by Thursday, which is good news for our travels, bad news for the Great Lakes. South winds will be rushing north to meet that area of low pressure, and especially east of St. Louis, we will need both hands on the steering wheel, as if they haven’t been white knuckling the whole way already. We’ll make it to Simpsonville, east of Louisville, by the end of this day.

DAY FOUR (Friday)
Low pressure will be moving vaguely poleward by the end of the week, and this is a relief for us. Dry skies will continue on the way to Greensboro, though a little band of light rain will develop eventually to our south and west, and that wind that will buffet us on Thursday will also be a memory. The arrival in Greensboro will come after 4 long days of driving, and will be quite a relief.

Greensboro, North Carolina