Left Overs Left A Mess

Good to see the leftovers spin up and do their thing last night, be careful in your commute, especially in the lower elevations that fell below freezing for the first time in a couple of days. I have not driven anywhere yet but everyone who reads this knows where the problem spots are for black ice on your commute, there is a good chance of that happening this morning.

Since I am posting I can tell you that the models are trending away from anything significant for the Monday night storm for most places, the exception would be Telluride/Silverton/Red Mountain/Ouray.  After that overnight Tuesday into Wednesday looks like the start of a very active period, more tropical air coming up from Arizona to get things started which will mean more low elevation rain and high elevation snow before a colder phase moves in and enhances the high elevation snow and turns the rain in the lower elevations over to snow. This far out I am reluctant to post any precip map but there is already widespread agreement among the models of 2-4 inches of liquid for the event.

Because this will be happening over a big travel holiday I will be watching very closely and will post Saturday (tomorrow) and Sunday. Even if it is mostly rain in lower elevations the liquid is going a long way to increase the soil moisture, this is not only beneficial to the drought but it also helps prime us for Winter Storms ( remember I have talked about the feedback issues that happen with wet and dry soil). The other benefit is when large impact events like this happen they are more likely to use the remote seeders. This is a whole other topic, but it is during high precipitation events ironically enough that they use the seeders and they have found them to enhance the overall precipitation in some cases by 10-20%.

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Purg News Release

I jumped the gun earlier releasing the news that Purg delayed their opening day. They reached out and asked me to wait for the formal new release. Here it is.

To my friends at Purgatory, the Monday storm will not do you any favors! Things look very favorable after that. Here is the news release:

New Opening Date: 11/27
Resort officials announced today that Purgatory Resort will open on Wednesday, November 27 for the 2019/2020 season. The resort was originally scheduled to open this Saturday. Sam Williams, senior director of mountain operations, said they made the difficult decision to reschedule opening after nearly two weeks of above-average fall temperatures. While this week’s winter storm – which brought 7 inches to Purgatory’s slopes – was a welcome sign of winter, it didn’t deliver sustained cold temperatures for consistent snowmaking or enough natural snow for the resort to open this Saturday as planned.

Please check the snow report as opening day draws nearer for updates on terrain.

We appreciate your patience and understanding and encourage everyone to continue doing their snow dances— local OpenSnow weather forecasters indicate that we could see up to two feet of snow beginning Monday through Thanksgiving next week. Check out our photo blog below for shots snapped today.

 

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Wrapping Up And Looking Ahead

With most areas reporting over an inch of liquid, I am pleased with the storm. There are still Warnings posted until Friday but between you and me the bulk of the rain and snow has already fallen in our area. I don’t expect anything significant for most of us. With that being said, there is a lot of moisture on the ground and in the air and a little sunshine can go along ways in stirring the pot and getting some isolated showers going again. So while there is still a chance, it would really surprise me to see anything significant. This line of thought goes against what the short term US HiRes model is showing, but it has been horrible lately.

You may have heard about a pretty active weather period coming up.  The models are coming into better agreement that the Monday night storm will largely be a Central and Northern Mountains event with northerly and Northwest flow which does not favor us.

By Wednesday all models are seeing a more significant storm slam into the West Coast and work its way into our area, this storm or series of storms could last until the weekend.

Looking even further out, I have my eye on what looks like a developing Stratospheric Warming Event, while you may not be familiar with it, it results in something you have heard about: the dreaded Polar Vortex.

Strat warms have been around forever, there is nothing unusual about them the phenomenon was discovered in the early 1950s and has been tracked more regularly since the late 1970s. I am not going to nerd out on you at this time and explain everything about SWEs but it has to do with rapid warming at between 50 MB and 10 MB (65,000 feet- 85,000 feet) and the result is cold polar air dropping into the US. If this pans out we could experience below zero temperatures after the first week in December. It is interesting because some of the geeky weather experts that I follow are comparing the upcoming December to conditions experienced in December 1977 and December 1983, both were good snowy Decembers for our area. Too early to buy a new electric blanket, but I like to share some of the factors I look at. This weekend should be nice enjoy it!

I will post again on Saturday or Sunday maybe both depending on what the models see for Monday.

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Don’t Worry The Euro Has This

I have been very busy today, but I have been able to hear everyone wondering if the storm missed us etc. The Euro from this morning was the only model to nail the low snow amounts that have plagued us so far. The bigger phase two of the storm with its two areas of low pressure absorbed Raymond into its flow, and that bigger piece will come through tonight and tomorrow morning.

Here is what the Euro had for snow from 5 am to noon.

euro112012zsnow

More is on the way, I believe I said 8-14 for Purg, it should be in that range. I never said 12-24 with up to 30 that was the NWS I don’t see any chance of that, but I have been wrong and I really hope I am. Tomorrow morning really looks dicey but probably short-lived.

I have to run, If I can I will try to put something out later today.

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Late Tuesday Update

The forecast discussion was out relatively early, the forecaster who wrote it, in my opinion, is the best of the bunch at that office and I was pleased to read he also feels the 8,000-8,500′ elevation will be the snow level during the day tomorrow. He also talked about the chance for little leftovers in the form of a couple of shortwaves. Based on all of this they did not change the Winter Storm Warning at all. He thought the GFS has been handling the system better overall, so here is the latest GFS from this afternoon.

GFS Precip

111918zgfsprecip.png

GFS snow

111918zgfssnow.png

I have said this storm will be a major test for the new upgraded GFS, it will be interesting to grade it after this storm. I am really rooting for it because it is very bullish on another storm on Monday and Thanksgiving. The Euro has been not nearly as excited about the Monday storm, however, it also likes the Thanksgiving idea. If the GFS is right it is going to be an excellent early start to the ski season!

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Last Minute Model Mayhem

 

There are still differences in timing and precipitation amounts, as well as snow levels. There are two phases to this storm, the first phase starts overnight, the heaviest precip should be around or shortly after sunrise, there will be a lull for 9-12 hours starting Wednesday afternoon, wherein some areas lighter precip will fall, in others, it may come to a complete stop. Between midnight and 5 am Thursday the precipitation rates will increase as the colder phase of the storm comes in. While this happening the snow levels could lower to 7,000 feet or below. The models diverge right after this happens, which has an effect on the precipitation totals. I have very little confidence in what happens after this. This does not mean I am pessimistic, it means that I can make a case for a small piece of energy being left behind and snow continuing (leftovers), just as I can make a case for the storm ending early Thursday.

Snow levels should start off high late tonight around 9,500′. By Wednesday morning if the models are correct snow levels should drop to between 8,000′-8,500′. and stay there throughout the day. They should not rise throughout the day. Between Midnight and Thursday morning the snow levels should fall to 7,000′ or below.

Now for totals, and I am being pretty conservative-Purgatory and Telluride 8-14″, Wolf Creek 12-18″. I am using the most recent model data and there are a few things could have a big influence on this storm. The biggest factor is how long it takes the second phase to wrap up and move out of the area. Also, will there be leftovers? The models cannot predict that scenario with any degree of accuracy this early. Will the storm stall out and join the two phases? All of these things have happened with regularity in our area so nothing would surprise me.

Here are the latest model runs from the big three.

First up, the Euro, it seems to be changing a little with every run.

Precipitation

111912zeuroprecip.png

Snow

111912zeurosnow.png

GFS Precipitation

111912zgfsprecip.png

GFS snow

111912zgfssnow.png

Canadian precip

111912zCANprecip.png

Canadian snow

111912zCANsnow.png

After the forecast discussion comes out and they update the Winter Storm Warning I will post again, it should be around 4:30pm at the latest

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While You Were Sleeping

The NWS upgraded the Watch to a Warning

COZ018-019-192100-
/O.EXT.KGJT.WS.W.0019.191120T0600Z-191122T1200Z/
NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF TELLURIDE, OURAY, LAKE CITY, SILVERTON,
AND RICO
239 AM MST TUE NOV 19 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING TO
5 AM MST FRIDAY ABOVE 8500 FEET…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED ABOVE 8500 FEET. TOTAL SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS OF 12 TO 20 INCHES WITH LOCAL AMOUNTS UP TO 30
INCHES.

* WHERE…SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS AND NORTHWEST SAN JUAN
MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING TO 5 AM MST FRIDAY.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE,
ESPECIALLY OVER THE HIGH MOUNTAIN PASSES. EXPECT HAZARDOUS
WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS ON ALL ROADS AND VERY POOR VISIBILITY
IN BLOWING SNOW. A DETAILED MAP OF THE SNOWFALL CAN BE FOUND AT:
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/GJT/WINTER.

The evening Euro run did this

EURO111900zprecip

Snow

gfs11190zsnow

The overnight Euro did this

Euro111906zprecip.png

Snow

Euro111906zsnow.png

The evening GFS did this

GFS111900zprecip

Snow

gfs11190zsnow

The overnight GFS did this

GFS111906zprecp.png

Snow

GFS111906zsnow.png

Oh Canada

CAN111900zprecip.png

Snow

CAN111900zsnow.png

This is the first real test for the “upgraded” new GFS, so it will be interesting to see how it does. Not much has changed in my mind, there are some other differences to talk about, like the Lull separating phase 1 from phase 2, I will talk about that later today, I will have something out around 1:00.

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Winter Storm Watch

They snuck this one in early on me…
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
243 PM MST MON NOV 18 2019

..FIRST SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL FOR THE SOUTHERN MOUNTAINS

.TWO DISTURBANCES WILL COMBINE CREATING A ROUND OF HEAVY SNOWFALL
FAVORING THE SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS. HIGHER ELEVATIONS IN EASTERN UTAH
AND CENTRAL COLORADO WILL ALSO SEE ACCUMULATING SNOWFALL.

COZ018-019-190545-
/O.NEW.KGJT.WS.W.0019.191120T0600Z-191122T0600Z/
NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF TELLURIDE, OURAY, LAKE CITY, SILVERTON,
AND RICO
243 PM MST MON NOV 18 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 PM TUESDAY TO 11 PM MST
THURSDAY ABOVE 8500 FEET…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED ABOVE 8500 FEET. TOTAL SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS OF 12 TO 20 INCHES WITH LOCAL AMOUNTS UP TO 30
INCHES.

* WHERE…NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS AND SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN
MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 11 PM TUESDAY TO 11 PM MST THURSDAY.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE,
ESPECIALLY OVER THE HIGH MOUNTAIN PASSES. EXPECT HAZARDOUS
WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS ON ALL ROADS WITH SNOW-PACKED AND ICY
ROADS AND VERY POOR VISIBILITY IN HEAVY SNOW AND OCCASIONAL
BLOWING SNOW. A DETAILED MAP OF THE SNOWFALL CAN BE FOUND AT:
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/GJT/WINTER.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL OCCUR DURING THE DAY
ON WEDNESDAY AND AGAIN ON THURSDAY MORNING. EXPECT A BRIEF LULL
IN SNOWFALL ON THURSDAY EVENING.

 

More on this tomorrow, I will do an early update than a more detailed update around noon.

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Everybody Loves Raymond

Tstorm

Overview

May I present the remnant low pressure previously know as Tropical Storm Raymond, this little guy circled in green is going to be responsible for ushering in a lot of much-needed moisture right into our area, it is 11:15 am Monday and in about 36 hours we will start seeing the precipitation. It is going to get a lot of help from another area of low pressure that will drop south along the California Nevada border and will help funnel that subtropical flow into our area. The moisture is going to take a couple of days to move through, at the moment Thursday looks like the highest impact day, meaning the snow levels will be low enough to affect a greater number of people.

Snow Levels

Snow levels will start high Tuesday night/overnight Wednesday (around 9,500-10,000′) but look to settle in around 8,000 feet by Wednesday afternoon. This could change between now and then, but the Euro especially has been advertising that 8,000′ level by noon Wednesday. The biggest variable in these storms is the snow level, many times the coldest air comes in just as the moisture is leaving the area, at the moment I feel much more comfortable with the snow levels going to 7,300′ level than the 6,500′ level before were done. Tomorrow and Wednesday I will be refining that part of the forecast.

Total Precipitation/Total Snow Accumulation

At the moment I would be leaning toward the 10-20 inch range for Purgatory, Telluride and Wolf Creek. The trend is usually your friend when it comes to models, after days of increasing precipitation and snowfall amounts, the Euro’s latest run has backed off overall totals. I will be watching that carefully.

Model Data

I want to share not only the most recent runs but the last couple so you can see the possibilities they have been sniffing out.

We’ll start with the Euro, here is the most recent run showing the total liquid precipitation

Euro111812zprecip

Here is the zoomed-in version

euro111812zzoomprecip

GFSprecipgauge

Here is the latest Euro for snow

111812zEurosnow

The Euro snow Zoomed-in

111812zeurozoomsnow

Capture

Now let’s go back to the last full run of the Euro from Sunday evening.

euro111800zprecip

And the snow

euro111800zsnow.png

Now Sunday morning

euro111712zprecip

And snow

euro111712zsnow

Now the most recent GFS for precipitation

GFS11182zprecip

Here is the zoomed-in version from this same run of the GFS

GFS1118zprecipzoom.JPG

GFSprecipgauge

Here is how that translates to snow on the GFS

GFSsnow111812z.png

And here is the zoomed-in version

GFSsnowzoom111812z

Capture.JPG

I only zoomed the newest runs.

Here was the previous GFS precipitation map from late Sunday night

GFS111806z

The previous GFS snow map

GFSsnow111806z

Earlier Sunday evening’s GFS precip

GFS111800zprecip.png

Sunday evening’s GFS snow map

GFSsnow111800z.png

So although the latest Euro was off slightly from earlier runs, the models still are seeing a lot of precipitation, hopefully, that Euro run was anomalous and not the start of a trend.

Many times when I see a change in the model data in the GFS or in this case the Euro I go to the Canadian model. I think the Canadian has an unnecessarily bad reputation and in the Winter has been known to give the GFS a run for its money.

So here is the latest Canadian for precipitation

CAN111812zPrecip

And here it is for snow

CAN111812zSnow

I think we will all be happy with precipitation, even if it is mostly rain at the lower elevations, A decent storm right before opening day at Purg is a bonus. There are some models contemplating a couple of more storms over the next couple of weeks, but it is too early to talk about them, one storm at a time for now.

 

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SWS from NWS

Right on time, an SWS (Special Weather Statement) from the NWS in Grand Junction. I will have a thorough update this afternoon. Next up from NWS will be a Winter Storm Watch, which may not be until tomorrow (Tuesday).

Special Weather Statement
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
456 AM MST Mon Nov 18 2019

COZ001>014-017>023-UTZ022>025-027>029-191200-
Lower Yampa River Basin-Central Yampa River Basin-
Roan and Tavaputs Plateaus-Elkhead and Park Mountains-
Upper Yampa River Basin-Grand Valley-Debeque to Silt Corridor-
Central Colorado River Basin-Grand and Battlement Mesas-
Gore and Elk Mountains/Central Mountain Valleys-
Central Gunnison and Uncompahgre River Basin-
West Elk and Sawatch Mountains-Flat Tops-
Upper Gunnison River Valley-Uncompahgre Plateau and Dallas Divide-
Northwest San Juan Mountains-Southwest San Juan Mountains-
Paradox Valley/Lower Dolores River-
Four Corners/Upper Dolores River-Animas River Basin-
San Juan River Basin-Southeast Utah-Eastern Uinta Mountains-
Eastern Uinta Basin-Tavaputs Plateau-Arches/Grand Flat-
La Sal and Abajo Mountains-Canyonlands/Natural Bridges-
Including the cities of Rangely, Dinosaur, Craig, Hayden, Meeker,
Rio Blanco, Columbine, Hahns Peak, Toponas, Steamboat Springs,
Grand Junction, Fruita, Palisade, Collbran, De Beque, New Castle,
Mesa, Parachute, Rifle, Silt, Eagle, Edwards, Glenwood Springs,
Carbondale, Basalt, Skyway, Aspen, Vail, Snowmass, Montrose,
Hotchkiss, Delta, Crested Butte, Taylor Park, Marble, Buford,
Trappers Lake, Gunnison, Cimarron, Ridgway, Glade Park,
Telluride, Ouray, Lake City, Silverton, Rico, Hesperus, Gateway,
Nucla, Cortez, Dove Creek, Mancos, Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio,
Pagosa Springs, Blanding, Bluff, Mexican Hat, Manila, Dutch John,
Vernal, Jensen, Ballard, Fort Duchesne, Randlett, Moab,
Castle Valley, Thompson Springs, Monticello,
Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park,
and Fry Canyon
456 AM MST Mon Nov 18 2019

…SLOW MOVING STORM MAY BRING CONSIDERABLE SNOWFALL TO THE
MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHEAST UTAH AND SOUTHWEST AND CENTRAL COLORADO
TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY…

A strong and moisture laden storm system threatens to bring
considerable snowfall to the mountains of southeast Utah and
southwest and central Colorado from Tuesday night through
Thursday. Snowfall accumulations could potentially exceed 1 foot
in the previously mentioned mountain areas and perhaps as much as
two feet in the southwest San Juan Mountains by Thursday evening.
Due to the initial warmth associated with this system heavy
snowfall is likely to be limited to areas above 9000 feet. Even
so, valley locations could see moderate to heavy rain at times
after a prolonged period of dry weather.

Travel over higher mountain passes in the southern and central
mountains will be impacted from Tuesday night through Thursday,
including Red Mountain, Coal Bank, and Schofield Passes. Take
proper precautions if traveling during this time period and stay
tuned for updates on this developing late fall storm.

 

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