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West_Sat_Rad_Large_Pac

One more shot of winter will pass through the region Saturday, bringing some relatively heavy mountain snow (total peak accumulations could be in toe 1-2 foot range on the mountaintops) and scattered valley snow showers, with only minor accumulations down low, and perhaps an inch or two in the foothills. Conditions dry up on a cool Sunday (high temperature will likely only be in the low 40s), and as we go through the next work week, skies will clear and temperatures will warm up into the 60s by the middle of the week.

Space Weather Satellite shot

Yesterday, Jerry asked how far west I looked to get an idea of the upcoming weather.  If you really want to get technical, I look all around the globe (at least the entire northern hemisphere), since the whole atmosphere is interconnected. But I look most intently at what is going on from here out into the central Pacific, and less so at the rest of the Pacific.

There are some exceptions to this: The far western Pacific can be of great interest. Often when we get a deepening low pressure over Japan it foretells a storm dropping over us about four days later. It doesn’t always work, but it’s not a bad rule of thumb.

Low_pressure_of_the_Japan_Sea_on_22_December_2016

I learned that trick from Tom Cylke, now retired from the National Weather Service. Tom wrote in to tell me that this method dates back to the 1950’s from a meteorologist named Hovmoller. It is only effective if the global long wave pattern is set up a certain way (which can be a challenge to determine in itself), but was quite a tool in the days before computer models and satellites.

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