SWS Special Weather Statement

As I anticipated the NWS released an SWS  for the upcoming storm. This is not a good set up for Purgatory, it is a better set up for Telluride and the northern San Juans and of course the northern and central mountains.

Here it is, make sure you read my take at the end.

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
352 AM MST MON DEC 30 2019

…SIGNIFICANT MOUNTAIN SNOWFALL POSSIBLE STARTING NEW YEARS
DAY…

A SERIES OF COLD AND MOIST PACIFIC STORMS WILL BE MOVING ACROSS
EASTERN UTAH AND WESTERN COLORADO STARTING WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND
PERSISTING THROUGH LATE THIS WEEK. THIS FAVORABLE WEATHER PATTERN
MAY BRING LOCALLY HEAVY SNOWFALL TO THE MOUNTAINS AND HIGH VALLEYS
FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME WITH ONLY SHORT BREAKS IN SNOWFALL
BETWEEN STORMS. THIS COLD AND UNSETTLED PATTERN COULD PERSIST
INTO THE WEEKEND.

SOME UNCERTAINTY REMAINS ON THE EXACT TRACK OF THESE MOIST
SYSTEMS, BUT EARLY INDICATIONS ARE THAT MOST MOUNTAIN PASSES WILL
BE IMPACTED, ESPECIALLY WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY. ANYONE
PLANNING TRAVEL ACROSS EASTERN UTAH OR WESTERN COLORADO SHOULD
MONITOR THE LATEST FORECAST AS THIS SERIES OF WINTER STORMS MOVE
INTO THE REGION.

There very little agreement on storm track or precipitation totals with the models. The NWS acknowledged that in their forecast discussion and hoped 12-24 model hours of model cycles will clear up the uncertainty.

I think the problem lies with how the models are handling a separate low-pressure system off the coast of California that will be headed onshore across Baja California Wednesday morning.

This is a pretty severe kink in the jet.

ecmwf-deterministic-conuswide-z500_speed-7890800.png

The speed with which that low-pressure is transported into Mexico will affect the storm track and flow of the storm. I will be keeping an eye on the new model runs and will post as things develop. With all of that being said, the combination of high precipitable water values and very cold air it won’t take a lot of outside factors to pile up some very fluffy high ratio snow. I do think Telluride will end up with an advisory by Tuesday but I am less certain about other areas.

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