Although snow will be starting in some areas of the Mountains tonight, the heaviest snow for most areas in SW Colorado will be Saturday and Sunday. The best chance for low elevation snow is Sunday. So we still have plenty of time to determine what we are in for.
I expect that the NWS will clean up their wording on the Winter Storm Watch. The problem I have is they are talking about Advisory amounts with Warning wording.
Across the nation, every NWS office has criteria that they are supposed to apply separate watches from warnings. It is based on geographic location. For example, if you live “in town” in Durango they should issue a Winter Weather Advisory (WWA) if Durango is expecting 6 inches or less–it is usually in the 3-6 inch category. A Winter Storm Warning (WSW) would be issued if more than 6 inches are forecasted. Above 8,500 feet a WWA should be issued for 6-12″ with a WSW being issued when greater than 12 inches are expected. In contrast in Atlanta if 1-3 inches of snow is forecasted they would issue a Winter Storm Warning.
I would expect they will have to break out Telluride from Hesperus with higher amounts, they are probably pondering 8-16 inches for Telluride and Silverton with 6-12 inches for (Purgatory) Rico, and Hesperus. Also when they mention Hesperus they are referring to north of 160.
My problem is when they put the 6-12 in there, Purgatory could get an inch tonight, 2 inches Saturday and 4 inches on Sunday morning and technically they would be correct (1″ tonight + 2″ Saturday + 4″ Sunday morning equal 7″ inches) but in reality, most people I talk to would say, “that storm missed us again”. So it’s important to understand what you are reading and understand what they are actually saying.
The models are still bouncing around on totals because the biggest impacts will be on Saturday and mostly Sunday we still have a couple of days to see if we get better agreement on what happens especially Sunday morning, that is going to be the make it or break it moment for most of us.
So here are the morning model runs from today showing the potential snow accumulations.
If anything interesting arises with the updated forecast package from the NWS I may briefly comment later this afternoon.