I know at times it seems like we should know more about the storms before they get here. I mean it is early Thursday morning, and the mountains may start seeing some light snow. Which I know people will then say “It’s here!”
Not so fast. As of 5 am here are the positions of the two storms.
Here is a closer image of that first storm, same time this morning.
The point is a lot can change as a system makes landfall. Any light mountain snow during the day today should not add up to much, it should stop before the real action comes in between 11 pm and 5 am Friday morning. The GFS has already made its adjustment to slow the storm down in its latest run.
You can clearly see the heavy precipitation band here between 5 pm and 11 pm this evening. There is also a negative tilt which shows the strengthening of the system. Below I circled the negative tilt.
Below see the regional view between 11 pm Thursday and 5 am Friday.
There are still details to work out, go back to the first image for a reality check of how far away these storms are. This is the type of storm that can catch this area off guard, I have seen it happen a few times. The set up is great. The models right now are not allowing the NWS to issue advisories for elevations below 8,500′ feet right now. This could change, if the next GFS and Euro run get excited we could see advisories for mid-elevations issued this afternoon. Or maybe they will wait until AFTER the snow has fallen, that is always fun.
First Storm Accumulations
At the moment (4:30 am Thursday to be precise), I like a 2-3″ for 6600′ and below, 3-6″ for mid elevations (7,200-8,200′) and 8-12″ for Purgatory. Telluride should see 8-14″ with most of that after the frontal passage in NW flow. I haven’t made up my mind on Wolf Creek but it should outperform the other two. These totals are for the first storm.
The Second Storm
After several model runs over several days showing the second storm, one single run of the GFS was enough to destroy the confidence of the NWS in the second storm happening. They may be right, anything is possible, but I would say it is highly unlikely we will get a complete miss on that one. What I see as another possible scenario, and I think I mentioned this a couple of days ago, is a scenario where everyone just south of Dalton, Durango-Bayfield and areas south of 160 but especially Falls Creek, DW1&2, Forest Lakes etc end up getting more than Purgatory. We have a couple of days on that one, as you saw the storm is still in the Aleutian Islands.