A Look Ahead

The weak system finished mostly as expected, I should have stuck with gut on Wolf Creek, 9 inches not bad! Thanks for all of the reports of convection yesterday afternoon. Graupel, thunder, lightning, and an occasional heavy downpour and a heavy snow burst near Coal Bank. Cool stuff! I was pleased how the high-resolution model dialed in the CAPE  for the afternoon that led to that activity! The cloudiness and foggy conditions many of us have been experiencing today are a bit bone-chilling, but it is different, that’s for sure.

I believe it was 4 days ago when I started talking about the possibility of moisture streaming into the southwest by mid-week. This still looks on track, but how this translates into any one particular storm will be difficult to discern until we get the accompanying low-pressure systems overland.

The models don’t just forecast the basics like precipitation, severe weather, temperatures, etc. They also forecast broader scale pattern changes. We refer to them as teleconnections, you have heard me mention all of the various acronyms +PNA,-PNA, +EPO,-EPO, -AO,+AO there are several more. Sometimes the models get confused and will forecast precipitation trends that argue with their teleconnection forecast. In other words, the conditions that they are forecasting are irregular with the conditions that typically occur with their teleconnection forecast. When that happens, I usually try to point out that I don’t trust the model, or it is having a bad day or I have given it a timeout.

That is not happening with any of the major three models right now. They have alignment between the parameters. This does not make them 100% right, but when you see that for several days you have to take notice. I may have been a little early to jump the gun 4 days ago, that being said there have not been significant changes in the modeling for the broader pattern over the next 10 days.

I will go as far right now as saying the pattern looks a bit unsettled and sloppy. For reference, yesterday and today were sloppy. We could be using those CAPE parameters in the models by Wednesday again. How strong the initial surge of moisture we see mid-week is very debatable. Systems always get delayed, we know that we live that over and over. So likely what I was seeing last week for mid-week will probably arrive closer to Friday.  Keep in the back of your mind that there is at least a chance of storm going into next weekend. Too early for confirmation let alone details, any travel concerns we can address closer to Friday. I will be here to answer any questions if it comes down to it.

Rather than post any single storm location totals, I want to share a broader look at 10-day totals, both the above-average anomalies as well as the totals amounts, just to illustrate what the change in the pattern looks like from the perspective of the multi-model ensemble runs. Back to the map question, you should now be able to locate DRO on the map in Colorado, even though this highlights the entire southwest. And don’t worry this is all snow above 8,500 feet with a combo below.

Starting with the GFS ensemble multi-model run of the 10-day anomaly, which is the total amount above average for this time period.


GFS ensemble 10 total precipitation, btw the 1.40 is DRO the 1.93 is Telluride


Canadian multi-model ensemble anomaly


Canadian multi-model ensemble 10 day total. Happy Spring Break Phoenix and San Diego!


Euro multi-model ensemble (52 model members) anomaly


Euro multi-model ensemble 10 day total


This definitely keeps the glass half full as far as the medium-term forecast outlook goes. And it only takes us up to March 19th. I could show it continuing for another 5 days or so, but let’s hold off on that for now.

Again we are looking at the trend which is saying a wet Southwest, where exactly all of that precipitation accumulates is yet to be determined. But I want to focus on the positive, and a wet pattern is always better than a dry pattern. Ideally, we want this moisture to dribble in, in the burn scar areas to recondition the dry soils and avoid a dangerous heavy runoff.

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