The main low yesterday tracked too far north and brought in a”tongue” of dry air in the lower levels which kept the snow from developing in the lower and middle elevations in the southern half of the border counties. Purgatory hit 5″ and Wolf Creek won again with 10″. Telluride didn’t get the flow behind the frontal passage and ended up with 2″. I have not heard how other areas below 8,000′ did.
We talk a lot about “flow” but what has been affecting the flow is the storm track. From Thanksgiving through December we had a few nice southern track storms that built up the snowpack quickly. Since January most of the storms have been out of the northwest. When a storm comes out of the northwest it can have southwest flow if it drops far enough south before it gets here, but there is a lot that can and usually does go wrong for us when that happens. When I talk about a pattern change I am talking about the resumption of a southwest storm track.
The downside with the southwest storm track is if it entrains too much extratropical air it can start as rain in lower elevations. Depending on the strength of the system snow levels usually drop as the system approaches. The best timing for those systems is to arrive late in the day.
Purgatory, Telluride and Wolf Creek will get more snow starting on Thursday generally in the 2-5″ total range.
I did get a birthday present this morning when I looked at the models in the long-range forecast. They are all showing a pattern change for SW Colorado and are showing a series of strong storms coming in next week starting on Monday. If they are right it could resemble some of the weeks we had last February.
If you are a model watcher you already know that this did not just pop up on the models today, it actually has been trending this way for a while. I have been waiting to bring it up because at times you see anomalous model runs that flip back and forth.
Last February our snow started 4-6th, but then didn’t really ramp up until 2/10 through 2/16, but then the flood gates opened up 2/17-2/23 for what was the heaviest snow week of the season. February 17 is too far away to talk about, but it is time to start tracking next week’s storms…
Thanks for the Birthday comments! Next update this afternoon.