Time To Sit Back And Watch

It gets tempting when tracking a storm to just skip forward and check out the totals and post them. It probably seems like that is all I do. In a changing weather pattern like we are entering you really have to take a look at the whole picture because the models are struggling from a seasonal perspective and because of the whole long wave pattern. They each have a different idea of which features are going to be dominant and when.

Troughs typically go from west to east but depending on a few things, systems can get clogged up as they try to make their way across the country. Sometimes we see the trough position change due to a cold front dropping in the middle of the country then retrograding the cold back to the west. How the models interact the low pressure to the west with the cold front to the east leads to a variety of solutions and model uncertainty. Time is the only thing that helps the models resolve their conflicts.

It is easier to show you than to explain.

Here is the Euro map on Thursday morning. You can see the position of the low pressure (the blue circle above Las Vegas). The cold front I mentioned cuts through the upper midwest from southeast to northwest, you can see the blue lines with 540, 534 and 528.

ecmwf-deterministic-conus-instant_ptype-6455200

Compare those two positions with the GFS’ depiction at the same time on Thursday (below). Much colder air is in the midwest. See the 522 and 516 blue lines? That is very cold air. The low pressure is not in Vegas like on the Euro, it is actually the red circle that says 546 over the Four Corners Region, it has moderately heavy snow falling across SW Colorado.

gfs-deterministic-conus-instant_ptype-6455200 The Canadian has the coldest air and it is further southwest with the cold front than the other two models. Notice how that 540 line drapes across NE Colorado? That is several hundred miles southwest of where the Euro has it. Also, the low pressure (the red 546 circle) takes up most of the state of Arizona.

gem-all-conus-instant_ptype-6455200

Three different models, three different ideas and about four days to figure it out.  I equally distrust the three models at this point. I am anxious to see what they come up with tomorrow.

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Let’s Get Back To The Weather

A few mountain snow showers are showing up on webcams and radar around the region this morning as a passing shortwave trough stirs things up a bit.

radar

In the coming days temps should be mild at lower elevations under southwest flow. A monster area of low pressure will make its way down the California coast giving the models plenty to think about how it is going to interact with us and when.

Here is what that closed circulation low pressure looks like tomorrow afternoon dumping snow in the Sierra.

gfs-deterministic-west-instant_ptype-6120400

 

As you may recall me saying in the past, the GFS is almost always a bit too fast taking the system east while the Euro is usually too slow initially. So the timing looks like Thursday or Friday to me. Since we have no idea what track it is going to take we won’t really be able to speculate where the snow will fall or how much.

The Euro is pretty conservative with its precipitation totals. The GFS is the most aggressive and the Canadian is right between them. I am going to be optimistic and display the liquid totals as I track this storm this week. Here are the totals ending next Saturday.

Euro

ecmwf-deterministic-colorado-total_precip_inch-6628000

The first thing you can see on the Euro is that the bulk of the precipitation falls up north indicating heavier NW flow in the system and a more northerly track.

The GFS is much different

gfs-deterministic-colorado-total_precip_inch-6628000

The GFS is showing strong SW flow for at least part of the storm as evidenced by the heavier totals near Wolf Creek and the even spread of precip across areas further south.

The Canadian has a similar solution but not as aggressive as the GFS

gem-all-colorado-total_precip_inch-6628000

The other day I mentioned tracking the Euro weeklies. There was no movement on those 32 and 46-day snowfall totals yet. Interestingly enough, however, it showed total precipitation slightly below average over the next 32 days but average for the 46-day period which obviously indicates a well above period of precipitation for the first half of May. That is good news as we approach the fire season!

So the spring tug of war continues. Enjoy the next few days of slightly above normal temps and stay tuned as we track and try to figure out what the weather future holds as we approach mid to late next week.

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Thank You

I don’t know if I can respond to every email. I have gotten nearly 300 emails so far. That was not my intention.  But I appreciate it. I have not read anything yet.  I hope everything is going well for everyone. My template has a donate on it. I did have a few people who thought I was trying to capitalize on that. There are always a few in the bunch. If you felt that way I apologize.

Thanks for reaching out friends, I am overwhelmed. I am still not at the point to respond. But thank you.

 

There Is Always The Weather

Snow showers are forecasted to break out mainly in the mountains above 9,000 feet today in response to a cold front draped across the NW portion of our state. As it moves south it will weaken as we have seen happen lately. Still, areas around Red Mountain Pass could get a few inches of snow. Models indicate Wolf Creek could also get a bit of snow. I don’t think anyone below 9,000 feet will have much to worry about.  Behind the cold front, we will cool off below freezing in most areas by tomorrow morning, so if you have vegetation concerns take precautions.

In the last update, I talked about how the models were trying to converge on the direction the pattern is headed towards next week. The GFS is showing that transition as evidenced in its 10 and 15-day snowfall totals. The Euro and Canadian operational models only have a 10-day parameter, so we are not exactly comparing apples to apples.

Here is the 10-day GFS

gfs6z10

The 10 day Euro

euro0z10day

And here is the 15-day GFS doing its best impersonation of Snowmaggedon.  For now, we will take it under advisement and hope for the better. If we could get all of the moisture without the snow I think we would all be a lot happier.

gfs-deterministic-colorado-total_snow_10to1-7189600

I apologize for missing the post I promised yesterday. On a personal level, I lost a very good friend to the Corona Virus. He lived and worked in the D.C. area. He had been sick since March 6th and they did not admit him into the hospital until March 25th after he contracted Bacterial Pneumonia and was positively diagnosed. He was on a ventilator by his second day. Things got worse and worse, he was placed on dialysis Tuesday night and I got the phone call he had passed yesterday morning. He was strong and healthy, had no conditions or previous ailments that would have predisposed him or put him into a vulnerable situation. 54 years old,  loving wife and family, a daughter in college and a son in High School with another son in middle school.

What makes it hard is that I don’t think that people understand is that you are isolated, no one from his family was able to see him before he passed. Now no one is sure about funeral plans or a service, it is just pretty helpless.

I hope I didn’t bum everyone with this. I thought writing about it might help me deal with it better. I am not sure if I accomplished that goal. Make sure to reach out to friends and family during these times.

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The Euro Weekly Model Just Cancelled Spring.

Snowpack

Before I begin here is an update on the snowpack.

table331

331snowpack

So we are down just a little, but still pretty “normal” to slightly above in several areas.

Euro Long Range Forecast

I don’t know anyone who is hoping for winter to return giving us snow into May in the mountains like we had last year. So I hope this is wrong. That being said the Euro model continues to be tested to be the most accurate weather model in the world today. So I can’t flat out ignore something when I see it. It will be interesting to see Friday morning what the new run shows. Hopefully, this is all a mistake, a bad day, a wrong turn?

Twice a week, the “Euro Weekly” model produces 7, 32 and 46-day anomaly forecasts. Snow, liquid precipitation, temperatures, and low and high-pressure anomalies. Hoping to get some better insight on spring, I have been nosing around the long-range models and  I was shocked to see the 32 and 46-day snowfall forecasts for the United States. Long-range forecasts are usually unreliable to take literally. But they are based on an element of truth, in other words, they are useful in determining patterns. So while the precise number of inches of precipitation may be wrong, the pattern for lower than normal heights (low-pressure anomalies like the shades of blue I show you on the maps) is usually close to accurate.

Without further adieu here is the latest run.

ecmwf-weeklies-avg-conus-snow_46day-9500800

Here it is zoomed in to just the Rocky Mountain region. Yes, those colors correlate to snowfall in inches.

ecmwf-weeklies-avg-cw-snow_46day-9500800

If I back it up to 32 days through May 1st here is what it shows.

ecmwf-weeklies-avg-cw-snow_32day-8291200

By comparing the two you can see that it is forecasting mountain snow after May 1st.

Hoping I could dismiss the Euro weekly, I just happened to pull up the 15-day snowfall forecast for Colorado from the operational GFS from last night.

gfs-deterministic-colorado-total_snow_10to1-7016800

Hmmm… That’s actually worse because it is only for 15 days, it shows most of it falling between the 10th-15th.

Despite the gloom and doom in the long term, I don’t see any significant weather makers on the horizon in the short term. Just a temperature tug of war. And a brush by of some mountain snow later this week. Stay tuned to see how the long-range situation plays out.

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A Mixed Bag Of Weather

I received a well thought out question via email yesterday and I wanted to share it with everyone:

“Does having a colder spring, which delays snowpack melt actually help with summer monsoons since a wet ground is more likely to cause convection in the summer and therefore produce more storms? Is there a downside to having a colder spring vs a warmer spring in terms of moisture and rainfall come spring/summer/fall?”

In theory, it makes perfect sense. I talk about it a lot, especially in the fall and winter. Wet brings more wet. Dry delays wet until a powerful enough storm can overcome the dry. I refer to it as a feedback loop when we get stuck in a wet or dry pattern.

But the quick answer is that a cool and wet spring can lead to a dryer summer and fall. I bet this is the opposite of what most people would think because this applies more to our region than the rest of the US.  Let’s look back at last winter and spring. Wettest ever nationally. Here not quite, but very wet by all of our standards. Then what happened? No monsoon. The monsoon was a nonsoon.

Why? The West as a whole was wetter and colder than normal. The monsoon relies on the exact opposite. It likes heat. Essentially high-pressure locks into place in the late spring in Mexico and then moves north eventually to just south of the Four Corners region.

People forget how cold it was even in June last year. Remember the Monsoon season is now completely dependent on opinion. The NWS now “declares” when the Monsoon season is supposed to begin. Typically that declaration is supposed to come June 15th. Here were temperature anomalies for June 30th, 2019.

ncep_cfsr_t2m_anom_062019

Check out how cold the US was. Look at the area around Baja Mexico. It was not a good environment for the Monsoon to develop.

So what is in store for us? My favorite answer–it is probably too early to tell. The Global Ensemble Models have been bouncing around and a real tug of war is going on across the country. Here is what that looks like. Low pressure is indicated in the cooler blue shades while high pressure is indicated by the warmer yellow and orange tones.

gfs-ensemble-all-avg-conus-z500_anom_1day-1585569600-1585656000-1586606400-40

And here is a two-week outlook from the Euro Ensembles.

ecmwf-ensemble-avg-conus-z500_anom_1day-1585526400-1585612800-1586822400-40

So hang in there, it looks like we will have a mixed bag of weather for a while, a few nice days here and there with some unsettled conditions thrown in to remind us where we live. Thanks for following and supporting the site.

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

Isolated and Scattered

My intention with the title of this post was intended to describe the nature of the precipitation over the next 24 hours or so. Then I realized I feel a bit isolated and scattered as well. So I left it as is.

The dewpoints at the surface in the lower and mid-elevations are pretty low right now. Low enough that it is going to be difficult saturate that layer sufficiently to produce some light showers and snow showers. Until then, anything that tries to fall from the sky will likely evaporate before reaching the ground. The higher the elevation, the better the chance that snow showers will develop.

The models are really not predicting anything measurable in the lower elevations.

Here is the Euro

ecmwf-deterministic-colorado-total_precip_inch-5627200

The Canadian

gem-all-colorado-total_precip_inch-5634400

And the GFS

gfs-deterministic-colorado-total_precip_inch-5634400

Snow levels will stay around 7,000-7,400 feet later today and tomorrow. Assuming it moistens up enough for something to fall.

I realize these are small amounts of precipitation but these little amounts continue to grow the snowpack.

Tomorrow I am going to talk about Spring’s struggle around here lately. On again, off again, currently on again for mid-week!

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

Spring Delay Continues

I have no idea how much snow Telluride got on the mountain yesterday and last night, but it was a lot. Wolf Creek also seemed to do well. Too bad no one can enjoy it. Snowcial distancing?

There is another system that is going to try to blow in tomorrow later in the day and stick around until late Monday morning or so. The GFS and Canadian are attempting to make it into more of an event, especially at the aforementioned areas that got snow yesterday. The Euro seems to be downplaying the whole thing. I haven’t chosen sides yet. I will wait until the last minute tomorrow afternoon. As much as the models have struggled lately I want to give them plenty of time to figure this out!

Yesterday the distraction turned out to be that the “storm” really wasn’t a distraction at all. The cold front passed with a couple of squalls early. Then the short wave hung up right across the San Juans. Here was how it looked right before it got stuck.

Capture

I think the WPC got it wrong here showing the shortwave this far north. WU had it nailed perfectly at the time, but I can’t archive old surface data from them. This still gives you an idea of how the shortwave to the north was tied into the front to the east. You see the low pressure going through cyclogenesis and sucking the life out of that shortwave. It pretty much died after that and drifted over us late last night with no fanfare. There is a new symbol on the surface map you will notice over Oklahoma extending into Texas. That is called a dryline. It is basically is just a boundary separating moist air to the east and dry air to the west. We don’t see those here, but they are very common in the plains.

As I said the models are really struggling. I thought by the middle of this coming week we would start to experience some more spring-like conditions around here. Now I am not so sure. It’s complicated. But it will certainly give me something to talk about on Monday. I believe we are going to have to revisit the MJO. I have not talked about it much this season, and this is not typically the time of year we do talk about. If you don’t know what the MJO is or why you should care, don’t worry I will explain all of that on Monday.

But first, we have to get through Sunday. My next update will be some time after 1 pm on Sunday. Thanks for following and supporting the site.

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

If A Small Storm Blows Through Today And The State/Country Is Closed Does Anyone Care?

It’s March 27th and a small dry storm is going to blow through with 12-1 snow to liquid ratios. Generally, 1/2- 3 inches should accumulate depending on your location.

Areas around Silverton and north up to Red Mountain Pass and the Telluride area will likely see 4-6 inches. Ouray could be looking at a Gorge event with several inches–perhaps a foot–falling on the northern approach to Red Mountain Pass.

Further south, Mayday and NW & NE (ridge) areas of Durango Ridge Ranch may see 3-5 inches.

My top secret snow elevation model now shows 5600′ as the magic number for the day. So no rain as far as that model is concerned. However, the high-resolution overnight model is trying to show some light rain showers below 7,000 feet this afternoon. Apparently, all of the models’ differences still have not been worked out.

Light snow has started falling at Wolf Creek Pass where 3-6 inches should accumulate throughout the day. Snow should be starting from west to east by mid to late morning, although the only thing I see on the Grand Junction radar is snow showers around Grand Junction.

For snowfall today, I like a combination of the Euro and NAM high-resolution model.

Euro snow through Saturday morning

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 7.07.47 AM

Screenshot 2020-03-18 at 2.46.09 PM

NAM snow through early Saturday morning

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 7.06.27 AM

Screenshot 2020-03-18 at 2.46.09 PM

Of course, given the fact that we do have a shortwave trough moving through today and it is late March, I have to mention there will be the chance of some convective showers, perhaps leading to some banded snow showers. The CAPE peaks around noon, then again around 4 pm. The values are not as high as we have seen, so I am not holding my breath on this.

As I said yesterday this may turn out to be a nice little distraction for us today.

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

The Friday Distraction

The problem with waking up early is “getting done” early. I followed up on a couple of emails. Worked out, combed through all of the models. Listened to the annoying alert go off on my phone reminding me I am not supposed to leave the house. Then I realized it was only 8:00 am. After this, I will probably get back on the indoor cycle and binge-watch “Bahamas Life”.

Friday a cold storm is going to blow through, a nice distraction I guess. It is going to be interesting to see how this whole thing pans out. There are mixed signals all over the models.

On one hand, it looks like temperatures will not get out of the mid to upper 30s even at the lower elevations. For snow levels (as of right now), my model shows a maximum of 4,900 feet during the day tomorrow. This drop starts about 10 pm tonight and continues to fall until 5 am and then levels out at 4,900 for the day.

On the other hand, this front is supposed to move through with a positively tilted trough, which is usually caught up in NW flow.  Not this time. I am showing SW flow most of the day, then westerlies. Only late tomorrow night after everything has stopped do the winds shift to NW flow.

Here are some things you rarely hear me talk about at the same time:  dry, SW flow with a positively tilted trough and temperatures running 8-12 degrees below normal. Hmmm… I can only conclude something is wrong. Wrong like a peanut butter and sushi sandwich. Certain model parameters, the winds, the temperatures or the precipitation amounts are incorrect.

So I am not going to post any precipitation maps today. I will tackle that when I wake up tomorrow. Hopefully, it will make more sense then!

Thanks for following and supporting the site. Next update Friday morning.

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!