Light Snow Event Monday Night

10/17 Sunday 7 am

Overnight, the models continued the trend of dropping the storm track a little further south. This increases my confidence that northern portions of the forecast area are going to get a couple of inches of snow late Monday into Tuesday. Not a big deal, but fun for fall. For everyone else, just a dusting or few drops if anything at all Monday night into Tuesday.

The other thing that I am getting confident about is a very small nuisance system that will rotate out of the main low to the west around or after 3 am Monday morning. If this happens, it will affect mainly the southern and central portions of the forecast area. If you are going to be driving in those areas early tomorrow morning you could run into some wet to slick conditions, with an inch or so of snow near the top of Wolf Creek Pass and Coal Bank Pass.

This reminds me, I have picked up a lot of followers in the last 10 days who may not know what the forecast area is. From south to north it extends from Aztec, New Mexico to Ridgway, Colorado. It includes Telluride, but not Lake City. From west to east it extends from Cortez, Colorado to Wolf Creek Ski Resort. I don’t choose these areas because they are my favorites. I chose them because I am more familiar with how our weather interacts with the topography.

Southern portions of the forecast area include everything south of Cortez, Mancos, Durango, Hermosa Bayfield, Trew Creek, Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek.

Central portions of the forecast area include everything north of Dolores, Rico, Glacier Club, Lemon, and Vallecito. It extends north to Molas Pass.

Northern portions of the forecast area include Silverton, Telluride, Dove Creek, Ouray, and Ridgway.

Here are the maps in motion. Notice right out of the chute the Canadian and Euro pick up on that small disturbance early Monday morning. The models may be overdoing the effects west of Archuleta County. We’ll see.

Canadian

Euro

GFS-nothing Monday morning

Here are the totals

Canadian-this looks reasonable.

Euro-this does not make a lot of sense.

GFS-If I could overlay the GFS on top of the Euro it would look the best of all of the models.

German-This looks interesting as well.

I still have my eye on the last 7 days of the month as a time period of interest. The GFS is starting to come around. Of course, now the Euro is backing off a bit. It will be a long roller coaster ride for the next several days. I will be focusing on it all week.

Two updates on Monday, the first will be out by 9 am. The second will be out by 4 pm. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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More Snow On The Way?

Saturday 10/16 12:30 pm

Things will be quiet and tranquil until at least Monday morning. I have mentioned a couple of times that the European model has been advertising a small disturbance rolling up from the south.  The Euro, Canadian, and the US NAM models are now all picking up on this. This should not be a big deal but may affect some of the higher peaks in NE La Plata County over to Wolf Creek Pass. At the moment, it looks pretty harmless.

The other development is that all models are trending deeper, colder, and further south with the next system due to affect western Colorado later on Monday. It does not look like a significant precipitation producer but it is looking more likely that the northern portion of our forecast area may see some more snow.

After that, it still looks like we will be going through a boring stretch of weather until around or after the 24th.

Sunday morning I will dig a little deeper into the Monday evening storm, stay tuned. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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A Cool Start

Friday 10/15 8:45 am

Low temperatures are the big story this morning. Overnight low temperatures ranged from 20 to 25 in the lower elevations. Most mid-elevation areas were hovering around 20 degrees. Higher elevations ranged from 10 to 18 degrees.

Yesterday afternoon, as expected, a few snow squalls came through areas north of 160 resulting in light accumulations and even a little convection. Here was what it looked like near Glacier yesterday afternoon around 4 pm.

I did not hear from any followers in the northern portion of the forecast area, but it looks like Telluride picked up close to 4 more inches on their snow stake. Here is how that looks this morning.

This weekend we will have nice fall weather. Temperatures will rebound slightly with seasonal overnight lows and high temperatures running slightly below average.

The models are still out of phase for next week and beyond. The Euro is trying to bring in a small disturbance from the south Monday morning. The other models are not seeing it yet. They are in better agreement with a disorganized system entering the north half of the state on Tuesday. There is not a lot of run-to-run consistency on the placement of that system.

It looks like things will settle down for a few days after that. Around the 23rd things could get interesting. I mentioned the MJO forecast from the European model the other day. The model is still showing the MJO entering phase one. The operational model is responding right on cue by showing a large wet system entering the west. The GFS is not showing this. Until there is better model agreement I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds with that one. However, here is a glimpse of what the models are showing for day 10 (10/24).

Euro

Canadian

GFS (what storm?)

Stay tuned…

My next update will be Saturday. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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A Little More Snow Today More Uncertainty For Next Week

10/14 Thursday 8:50 am

Since my last post, the models have taken a slightly more southerly track with the short wave trough which is currently stretched from southeast Utah into west-central Colorado. It is draped across the Grand Junction area.

I circled it in black.

It will be moving east throughout the day and will bring 2 to 8 inches of snow across northern portions of the forecast area. There may be some upside surprises up to a foot between Ouray and Red Mountain. Silverton ski area could also do well.  Telluride and Silverton (town) will likely see 2 to 5 inches of snow.

There is a lot of uncertainty about the track this disturbance will take. There is not a lot of moisture with it, but as I said there will be some surprises.

If the system drops a little further south, odds are that more of the southern portions of the forecast area will be affected. I would be very surprised if anyone south of 160 will be affected. I do not expect accumulations here, but some brief snow squalls may accompany the passage of the disturbance. We have seen those happen before. You go from cloudy to what looks like a blizzard for 5 minutes, then the sun comes out.

The models have struggled with overnight low temperatures all week. Today is no exception, some models are calling for the coldest overnight lows of the season by tomorrow morning. We’ll see.

There is no agreement whatsoever among the models for what will happen Monday through Wednesday of next week. I will be tracking that and posting a closer look at those scenarios starting Friday morning.

I look forward to hearing reports of heavy snow or snow squalls passing through. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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More Snow For The North Tomorrow A nice Weekend Ahead For All

10/13 Wednesday 9:30 am

Thanks for all of the reports yesterday, last night, and this morning. There were so many I could not respond to every one of them. If someone is asking me a direct question I try to respond. In some cases when my inbox is backed up I may not be able to respond immediately.

There does seem to be a lot of excitement about winter. I still don’t feel strongly one way or another yet. I follow a lot of people in the industry way smarter than me. I have not yet read a compelling enough case either way for the winter for me to jump on board. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I would not be dismissing this winter by any means.

A smaller, dryer, and colder system will move from north to south down the western slope on Thursday. This system will favor northern portions of the forecast area with 3 to 8 inches of snow. I expect 3 to 5 inches will be more common. Areas around Purgatory and Mayday may see a couple of snow squalls but I do not expect accumulations greater than a heavy dusting.

After Thursday we should see the sun come out and a nice, cool, fall weekend will take over for the entire forecast area. The models are struggling with the progression of another system or two during the first half of next week. I think these systems will stay too far north to affect us. However, I have seen a couple of model runs in the last couple of days showing some snow and rain across northern portions of the forecast area. We have some time to figure all of that out.

After that, the next possibility for another storm looks like it would be after the 24th.  At that point, the MJO is forecast to go into phase one. I will talk about the MJO as we get closer to winter. I will refresh the long-time followers and help the new followers understand it.  Some of you that have been following me for a while may remember that the MJO in fall and winter means a cool and wet period for us. It usually means conditions are favorable for the development of a winter storm.

My next update will be Thursday morning. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Afternoon Storm Update

Tuesday 10/12 1:50 pm

As is often the case, there were many discrepancies among surface map providers this morning. It turned out Wunderground had the best placement for the cold front and the parent low. The cold front finally made it into Colorado around 9 am. The parent low is still spinning over southern Utah. WPC had indicated that the cold front passed Durango at 6 am. In actuality, that was a short wave trough ahead of the cold front. I was in Durango at 10:30 this morning when I saw the updated surface map from Wunderground. I emailed it to myself so I could share it with you this afternoon.

The blue line with triangles is the cold front. The southern portion is leaning back (negative tilted), which means it is strengthening. The blue and red line extending out of the cold front is indicating that a portion of the front is stalled. It is leaning forward (positively tilted) which means it is weakening. All of the dotted brown lines are shortwave troughs, most have their own area of low pressure associated with them. This is definitely a complex system.

Most mid-elevation areas below 8,000 feet have not received significant accumulating snow. It has been too warm in the lower elevations for much more than rain. I have not received many snow reports. The last report I got from Silverton was 10″ at 10 am. I also got an earlier report of 7″ at Mountain Village. The automated PWS (personal weather stations) don’t show snow, so I rely 100% on the public for snow reports.

Here is the latest surface map from WU.

I tried to extrapolate the low location from the near-live satellite view.

It is pretty similar to Wunderground.

Where that slow-moving parent low tracks from here will determine who (if anyone) gets snow tonight. As it passes winds will be more favorable for the northern portions of the forecast area. If the low tracks a little further east, precipitation will continue or redevelop over southern portions of the forecast area. Models are notoriously horrible at predicting this. So, we will have to wait and see.

 

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Fun Stuff!

10/12/21 Tuesday 7:40 am

The front is still to our west near the Utah border. As it approaches expect temperatures to drop, also expect some thunderstorms. The low pressure is well to our west in SW Utah. Rain is just starting to change over to snow in some of the mid-elevation areas. Things should start getting more exciting soon.

Things have been exciting along 550 north overnight. I received a report from Silverton of 6 inches of snow already at 6 am. There was little change in the models overnight, so I do not expect any changes in the eventual results. Things should start going downhill pretty quickly over Wolf Creek Pass. The snow is just getting underway there (7:30 am).

I will update throughout the day but I do have some errands I have to run this morning. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories Across The Forecast Area.

10/11 Monday 3:30 pm

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
1240 PM MDT MON OCT 11 2021

COZ068-121300-
/O.CON.KPUB.WS.W.0009.211012T0600Z-211013T0000Z/
EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS ABOVE 10000 FEET-
1240 PM MDT MON OCT 11 2021

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM MDT TUESDAY…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF AROUND 12 INCHES, WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 65 MPH.

* WHERE…EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS ABOVE 10000 FEET (including Wolf Creek Pass)

* WHEN…FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM MDT TUESDAY.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. THE HAZARDOUS
CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT TRAVEL. PATCHY BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY. STRONG WINDS COULD CAUSE TREE DAMAGE. 

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
234 PM MDT MON OCT 11 2021

COZ019-120700-
/O.UPG.KGJT.WW.Y.0027.211012T0600Z-211013T0000Z/
/O.NEW.KGJT.WS.W.0005.211012T0600Z-211013T0000Z/
SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF SILVERTON AND RICO
234 PM MDT MON OCT 11 2021

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM MDT TUESDAY ABOVE 9000 FEET…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED ABOVE 9000 FEET. TOTAL SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 14 INCHES, WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS EXCEEDING A FOOT ACROSS SOUTH FACING PEAKS. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 60 MPH.

* WHERE…SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM MDT TUESDAY.

COZ018-UTZ028-120700-
/O.CON.KGJT.WW.Y.0027.211012T0600Z-211013T0000Z/
NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-LA SAL AND ABAJO MOUNTAINS- INCLUDING THE CITY OF TELLURIDE
234 PM MDT MON OCT 11 2021

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM MDT TUESDAY ABOVE 9000 FEET…

* WHAT…SNOW EXPECTED ABOVE 9000 FEET. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES, WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS UP TO A FOOT POSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 50 MPH.

* WHERE…IN UTAH, LA SAL AND ABAJO MOUNTAINS. IN COLORADO, NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM MDT TUESDAY.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. GUSTY WINDS COULD BRING DOWN TREE BRANCHES.

I like what they have done here. I like the move to a WSW (winter storm warning) for Silverton and the SW San Juans. I like keeping Telluride in an advisory but saying it could hit warning criteria. I like Pueblo NWS’s call on Wolf Creek, but they are probably way too low with the accumulations.

Very little has changed since this morning. The front has not moved very much, it still appears to be stretched across NW Utah. Surface maps were indicating the front was stationary. It looks like there has been a little more movement in the last 6 hours. Temperatures are running 20-25 degrees colder behind the front.

I have loaded in the snowfall forecasts in this post. It is important to remember that these models default to 10 to 1 SWE. This means for every inch of liquid you get 10 inches of snow. This is not your average early fall snowstorm.  By late Tuesday morning, SWE ratios (snow to liquid ratios) at and above 8,800 feet should be about 15 to 1. At 8,000 feet they will probably average 12 to 1. So I threw those snow maps in there, but for a more accurate read, use the liquid-equivalent maps and do the math for your location.  Here are the precipitation maps for the first storm ending early Wednesday morning.

GFS liquid- I have very little faith in this forecast for the lower elevations. The forecast goes against our terrain in the low and mid-elevations.

GFS snow

Canadian liquid-Of all of this morning’s model runs, I like what this model is doing the best. I think it is just a bit too bullish for Pagosa.

Canadian snow

Euro-I am not crazy about this one either, but it is better than the GFS.

Euro snow

German-I like this run as well as the Canadian. It makes a lot of sense.

Now for the second storm Thursday into Friday. I am indifferent on these model runs because I expect the amounts to change between now and Thursday. One thing I do not expect to change is it will favor Telluride, Ouray Silverton, and Red Mountain.

Canadian

Canadian snow

GFS

GFS snow

Euro-I changed my mind, this run of the Euro for the second storm is doing exactly what it should with northerly flow. What may change are the amounts.

Next update Tuesday morning, I am looking forward to the snow reports. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Winter Weather Advisory

10/11 Monday 8:30 am

Northwest San Juan Mountains-Southwest San Juan Mountains-
Including the cities of Telluride, Silverton, and Rico
346 AM MDT Mon Oct 11 2021

“…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO
6 PM MDT TUESDAY ABOVE 9000 FEET…

* WHAT…Heavy snow expected above 9000 feet. Total snow
accumulations of 5 to 10 inches, with local amounts up to a foot
across higher south facing peaks. Winds gusting as high as 50
mph.

* WHERE…Northwest San Juan Mountains and Southwest San Juan
Mountains.

* WHEN…From midnight tonight to 6 PM MDT Tuesday.

* IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult. Strong winds could
cause tree damage.”

No surprises in that, it is pretty straightforward and consistent with everything the models have been advertising.

The cold front is right where the models thought it would be this morning.

There have been some subtle inconsistencies between the last two Euro model runs. I am going to wait until the morning model runs to come out before I post the latest precipitation maps.

The models are in better agreement today that another disturbance is going to come through on Thursday. It will be much smaller but it will be a reinforcing shot of cold air. It will also bring additional snow to Telluride, Ouray, Red Mountain and Silverton. At this point, it looks like it will only deliver a heavy dusting to areas south of Silverton.

As I mentioned yesterday, I included the Thursday system totals in the precipitation maps I posted Sunday morning. This afternoon I will break those systems up and look at the totals for each system separately. The models have been pretty consistent with their precipitation forecast for the last week, so I don’t expect things to change too much.

It still looks the first flakes will fly in the high country around or just after midnight tonight. The snow level still looks like it will fall rapidly from 8,000 to 6,500 feet before noon. The rain will change to snow in the lower elevations from west to east. Mid-elevation areas may see a mix first thing in the morning with all snow likely before 9 am.

Here is how that looks on the maps.

Euro

GFS

I will have my afternoon update out before 4 pm. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Countdown To Cold

10/10 Sunday 6:40 am

Not a lot to talk about this morning. Temps are cooler, hovering in the mid to upper 20s to the low to mid-30s across the forecast area. That will seem downright balmy by Wednesday morning. The cold and snow are on their way. As has been seen on the models’ precipitation maps, this is not going to be an extremely wet system. But as we saw Saturday morning, there are always surprises. The models rarely pick up on surprises. The biggest surprise will be if we don’t see surprises.

This storm will be impactful especially in the higher elevations. We will at least see our first WWA (winter weather advisory) for the high country. Whenever we talk about snow in the lower and mid-elevations and temperatures near 20 degrees in October it is a big deal. I say bring it on, lets get this winter started!

Very little has changed on the models. I still won’t rule out a slowdown. I would like to see that. It would indicate a deeper system that is going through some strengthening. If it does not happen, we should see snow start to fly in advance of the system late Monday night in the higher elevations. This is due to a favorable jet location.  As it stands right now, snow will be falling by 6 am Tuesday down to 8,000 feet. The snow level should drop to between 7,000 and 6,500 feet by noon.

Here are the latest precipitation maps.

Canadian liquid

Canadian snow

GFS liquid

GFS snow

German liquid

I don’t post the German snow totals because it struggles with SWE ratios.

Euro liquid

Euro snow

WPC liquid

I also don’t post the snow totals from the WPC. They use a probabilistic forecast scheme that is difficult to understand.

My next update will be Monday morning (unless I see something crazy in the later day model runs). Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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