Light Snow Friday Into Saturday

1/20/21 Thursday 12:45 pm

On Friday, a weakening system will float across the forecast area bringing light snow to most locations. At the moment it looks like snow will start mid to late morning across the northern portions of the forecast area. The snow will drift south by early afternoon and will end on Saturday.

Here are the latest model forecasts for liquid precipitation from first to last flake.




The models struggle with these types of systems. The system should favor northern portions of the forecast area. I have low confidence in this forecast based on my experience with the models with this type of setup. Here is my preliminary forecast; if there are dramatic changes in the overnight model runs I will update them in the morning.

Telluride, Ouray, Silverton, the 550 passes, and Wolf Creek:  2 to 4 inches.

Purgatory and mid-elevation areas at or above 7,300 feet: 1 to 3 inches.

All other areas: up to 1 inch.

I will check in tomorrow by 8 am after the high-resolution models generate. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Something To Talk About (Hopefully)

1/19/22 Wednesday 7:15 am

For the last couple of days, the models have been in fairly good agreement that a  potent system in the Northwest will move east, split apart, then send one wave onto the northern plains states. The other wave is forecasted to drop down through Utah into northern Arizona and close off near the four corners.

This sounds great, it is usually a good setup for our area. Unfortunately, all of the moisture this storm will have to work with will come with it. Often times systems that are set up like this will draw moisture and mix with something coming from the Socal Pacific coast. That appears unlikely with this system, but most of us are craving some (any) moisture about now. The good news is that it appears that it will be cold enough for snow across the forecast area.

Here are the various models showing the forecasted liquid-equivalent precipitation amounts for Friday through Saturday. To convert to snow multiply by 10 up to 7,300 feet. Multiply by 12 above 7,500 and by 14 at or above 8,800 feet.






Based on the other model runs, there is a possibility this is an anomalously low run. Compare that run with this run from the same model 12 hours earlier.

Things should dry back out over the weekend with the next chance of precipitation next week, 1/25-1/26.

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

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Extended Outlook

1/14/21 Friday 8:45 am

Thank you for all of the emails. I am not back to 100% but I am on the way. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to talk about. What looked like a hint of a pattern change around the 23rd, now just looks like a small disturbance caught up in northwest flow.

For today, there may be a few flurries or light snow from Ouray to Coal Bank.  There should not be any significant accumulations.

The dominant ridge is locked in over the western US. There is going to be a deep trough over the eastern half of the US. This is going to be a perfect setup for a couple of Nor’easters and some very cold weather for those folks. It will likely lead to higher energy prices and energy shortages. There are going to be a lot of weather stories over the next couple of weeks!

The longer-range models are showing a pattern change towards the end of the month. They are also showing slightly above average precipitation for the month of February.

For the next couple of weeks, it does not look favorable for any significant precipitation. Sometimes, the models lock in these ridges in the west for too long. Things can change pretty quickly. Assuming the models are correct, and we stay another 2 weeks or so under high pressure, here is the 15-day forecast from the Euro ensemble model. This is total liquid precipitation in inches through January 28th.

When I put the maps in motion in one-day increments you can see the pattern change kick in and the precipitation start accumulating. This is Friday, January 28th through February 27th.

The GFS extended model is showing something very similar. As I said earlier a lot can change pretty quickly.

I will be posting as the situation warrants. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Tuesday Update

For the last 30 years in times of the best shape of my life, or my worst shape, my back goes out twice a year. Always for stupid reasons. Bending wrong shaving is high on the list. Today it was a wrong bend on disposing of the Christmas tree.

Not too worried about the weekend.  I think we need to watch the period beginning January 23 or 25 for a big pattern change.

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Quick Monday Update

Monday 1/10/22 1:30 pm

There is still poor model agreement regarding whether or not a rogue weather system will make its way into Southwest Colorado later this week and weekend. The German and Canadian operational models are suddenly very aggressive with their precipitation forecasts for that time period. It caught me off guard. The Euro and GFS operational models now show a complete miss–nothing.

The German and Canadian models show the precipitation build in on Friday and last through Saturday(German) or Sunday (Canadian). They no longer show an ice event but mostly snow.

To be honest, it is difficult to take the German and Canadian models seriously at this point. When I look at the ensemble models, they do not support anything more than a very small, weak storm at best. As I said, the operational versions of the GFS and Euro show nothing at all.

Until I see some more confirmation in the GFS or Euro operational models I am not going to worry about it. However, I will definitely be keeping an eye on the situation.

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

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A Few Boring Days Then Maybe A Change

1/9/22 Sunday 9:30 am

Saturday’s storm was as expected, with no surprises. Models usually struggle with small storms but they did well this time. Telluride and Wolf Creek ended up with 4 inches. The 550 passes had 3 to 4 inches and I believe Silverton joined Ouray with 3 inches,  Purgatory ended up with 2 inches.

The models are still struggling with next weekend. Originally the models were showing a storm coming in under the ridge after Wednesday. Then they started focusing on the Thursday through Saturday timeline. The latest European operational model is showing nothing. The Euro ensemble members still showing something happening. The latest operational model may be an anomalous run or it may be on to something.

The GFS and Canadian operational models as well as their ensemble family members are still showing a small messy storm coming in from Thursday through Sunday.

Between the two the Canadian is the messiest so let’s take a look at it. I put the maps in motion and you will see four colors in action. We usually see various shades of blue and green. In those scenarios, blue is snow and green is rain. There are a couple of other colors we don’t often see–orange and pink. Orange is sleet, pink is freezing rain. The darker the shade of a color, the heavier the form of precipitation.

This is the regional view. It starts Thursday morning as warm moist air moves into Arizona and southern Utah. It ends Saturday night.

I am not posting this with a high degree of confidence. It is not something to worry about yet. If you do have travel plans for the weekend file it away for now as a slight possibility. I will keep an eye on it for you, so no need to ask me about travel destinations yet. If need be I will start taking those questions on Wednesday.

My plan this week is to keep an eye on this and any other features that the models present. I will try to do at least a short update every day.

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Light Snow Saturday

1/7/22 12:10 pm

Wednesday night 2 to 3 inches of snow fell on the 550 passes and Silverton. One of my Silverton followers called it “an inconsequential storm”.

Tomorrow, snow will be a little more widespread, but with similar results. 2 to 4 inches for Telluride, Silverton, Rico, Lizard Head, and the 550 passes. Generally 1 to 3 inches for Purgatory and the surrounding areas above 8,500 feet. I also expect 1 to 3 inches for Wolf Creek. Below 8,500 feet only a heavy dusting is possible.

The models are in good agreement that Sunday through Tuesday will be non-eventful and boring. The models are mixed regarding Wednesday through Friday. A couple of the models are showing not necessarily a big storm, but potentially a messy storm with some ice in the lower elevations. Too early to worry about that right now.

My next update will be Sunday and I am hoping we can start looking a little long into the future. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Wednesday Update

1/5/22 Wednesday Noon

Occasional on and off light snow showers will fall over the northern portions of the forecast area. By Saturday, the showers could develop over the rest of the forecast area. At the moment, it looks like up to 2 inches could fall at Purgatory, Wolf Creek could see 3 inches, and Telluride could see 4 inches between now and Sunday morning.

Yesterday, I talked about the high-pressure ridge building in over the forecast area. I also mention that the good news is, that with the split flow of the jet stream, the ridge would be “dirty” and may allow a couple of systems to come under the ridge and bring us some precipitation.

It is way too early to talk about it, but the GFS and Canadian models are already trying to bring something in between Tuesday and Thursday, We’ll see.

Somebody emailed me wondering about the snowfall total for Rico. My contact there told me he had kept track from 12/23- 1/1. He said the total was 55 inches. To the person who asked me about this, I accidentally deleted your email, but I hope that helps.

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

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A Little Snow This Week

1/4/22 Tuesday 9:45 am

Short Term Outlook

The main storm track has shifted to our north but between tonight and Saturday night there will chance for very light snow favoring the northern portions of the forecast area. Tonight and Wednesday night, Telluride, Ouray, Red Mountain, and Silverton could see a few flakes in the overnight hours. Only minor accumulations are expected. On Saturday, chances increase for snow across the entire forecast area before the ridge arrives late Sunday into Monday.

Extended Period

My intention was to spend some time going over the extended model runs and discuss what I am expecting to happen over the next two months. For now, there is very poor agreement among the extended and seasonal models. We were in a similar situation in November.

By the end of November, there was much better agreement among the extended models showing not only the storms on the 9th and 14th but hinting at much higher totals towards the end of December. By December 16th, I was already tracking the storm cycle we just finished on Saturday. The purpose of me sharing this with you is because I think I will be in a similar situation in about 10 days or so. I expect that by then the models will be honing in on the next pattern change.

But first, we will have to deal with the ridging. The high-pressure ridge is really going to build in starting on Sunday or Monday and stick around for about a week. The jet stream is going to split, which is good because it could lead to what is called a “dirty” ridge, where minor disturbances can slip under and bring the potential for a couple of small storms during that period.

After the ridge flattens, I believe we are going to return to another extended period of cold and snowy weather. This should start around the last week of January and continue well into February.

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

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