Sorry, this is later than normal but here was a lot to digest and cover!
The Storm Is On The Way
We are roughly 12-14 hours away before the first influx of moisture. I have been pretty optimistic about what I have been seeing in the models over the last 24 hours. The NWS started lowering the range of totals for the area. Not too drastic, but I think a little more realistic. What I have not seen is any noticeable delay in the onset of precipitation. Most models are seeing precip move in between 2 am and 6 am Friday. As you will see the GFS and Canadian and still pretty Gung-ho on this system, impressive totals the Euro is trying to find a dry slot of air move in and curtail some of the totals. I have not seen this in the other models yet. If you include the German model it is currently 3-1 (so far) against this happening. Nevertheless, I can’t ignore it.
I am going to share the latest liquid and snow totals right now as always. I already know that I will get pretty antsy shortly after midnight, and rather than lay in bed and wonder if the models delayed the onset of precip, and weather or not (did you see what I did there?) the dry slot showed in the other models, I will just get out of bed and start refining the forecast, it will be out before 5 am so I can still make it to the gym.
So let’s start with Euro it is pretty conservative compared to the others.
Here is the liquid-equivalent accumulation through later Saturday
Really, that is difficult to be disappointed with that is a big swath of 9/10 of an inch in the higher elevations with 1/2 to 3/4 across lower and mid-elevations.
Here is the snow
That falls within the range of the current Winter Storm Warning. This is too low in my opinion, at the moment, for Wolf Creek.
Here is the Canadian model’s take on liquid.
That is pretty wet!
Here is the snow
The GFS model looks like this
The GFS has certainly found the La Platas! I am not crazy about the wavy look that the GFS gets, it is a resolution problem, but it is likely more than that.
Here is the snow.
The errors become more pronounced looking at the snow output above. 12 inches of snow in the La Platas with 2 inches of liquid? Nope!
So for now, I like the 5-8″ range for Purgatory with 8-12″ at Wolf Creek. This does factor a mild dry slot later during the day on Friday. I may revise these up later, perhaps significantly, given the bullishness from the other models. Right now, I gotta call it the way I see it. Telluride I am in the 3-6″ range, for now, the dry slot would not affect you either way.
Snow levels are a concern with me right now, but not why you think. Usually, I am concerned because of high snow levels. Right now, I am hearing about these higher snow levels, but my own data source does not show them as high as everyone else’s. Could my data be wrong? Sure thing, that is another reason I will be up early to dial things in.
I have also not yet published the high-resolution model’s take on liquid and snow, although I have used it to contribute to my decision on the precipitation totals. Tomorrow I will post the latest high-resolution runs to try to further refine the details, I have not ruled out a little sloppy snow by Saturday below 8,000 feet!
The obvious will be 550 north, from just a few miles south of Purgatory through Coal Bank and Molas. Travel may be highly impacted, gusty winds and heavy snow. Wolf Creek, same story morning glory… If the timing does not change things should be full-fledged dicey after 6 am for both areas. If you skipped everything above, as I mentioned, the models have not yet slowed this storm down, that could very well happen, I will be updating that in overnight, then again 8-9 am.
Most of the travel requests I responded to by email, but I received one request regarding the HS Girls Lacrosse team traveling to Grand Junction early tomorrow morning through Moab. At this point, it looks like all rain below 7,800-8,300 feet, so you should be fine, but it will be sloppy at least through Monticello.
That brings us up to the newly released Winter Storm Warning
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
207 PM MDT THU MAR 12 2020
SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF SILVERTON, RICO, AND HESPERUS
207 PM MDT THU MAR 12 2020
…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM FRIDAY TO MIDNIGHT
MDT FRIDAY NIGHT ABOVE 8500 FEET…
..THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT
* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED ABOVE 8500 FEET. TOTAL SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 14 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS
POSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 35 MPH.
* WHERE…SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.
* WHEN…FROM 3 AM FRIDAY TO MIDNIGHT MDT FRIDAY NIGHT. THE
HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL FALL FROM 6AM THROUGH NOON.
* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT ESPECIALLY ON US 550
OVER RED MOUNTAIN, MOLAS, AND COAL BANK PASSES. US 160 LEADING
UP TO WOLF CREEK PASS WILL ALSO BE AFFECTED. PERIODS OF WHITEOUT
CONDITIONS WILL BE POSSIBLE DUE TO HEAVY SNOWFALL.
CAPE values will have to be watched for some convection in the lower elevations tomorrow after 11 am. Given, at the moment I am leaning towards Archuleta County for the most commotion. But I will talk more about that in the update around 9 am.
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