Afternoon Update

Published at 3:45 pm Monday

This is my least favorite part of a storm. There is a large area of precipitation to our west in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Presumably, the jet will come across our area and enhance that precipitation and work it into our area. It is not always that easy.

As I said this morning, it is very difficult, to impossible, to determine where more intense bands of snow will show up, or if they will show up.

The models under forecasted the amount of snow we got last night and this morning. It turns out that after our overrunning event, a shortwave trough set up over the area and kept snow accumulating in many locations until around noon.

NOAA’s surface maps lag by as long as 5 hours, so you never actually know what is happening. Now I am finally able to look back and see what was happening at that time.

Here was what the surface map looked like at 8 am. Unfortunately, it was around noon before I saw it. The shortwave trough is the brown dotted line I circled in black.

This explains the increased snowfall this morning.

Now, as evening approaches when the jet max is supposed to be moving into the area, here is where the main precipitation is located.

Here is the latest model guidance for additional precipitation.

If I were 100% confident with this model run, and I am not, I would be forecasting the following additional amounts of 12 to 15  inches for Wolf Creek with possibly 20 inches if everything goes perfectly. 4 to 8 additional inches could fall at Purgatory, Ouray, Silverton, and Pagosa. Most mid-elevations could see 2 to 5  additional inches, the exception being the Forest Lakes to Vallecito and Lemon areas where 5 to 10 more inches are possible. I still think another 5 to 10 inches at Telluride is possible especially after the wind changes directions.

The takeaway is that my confidence is very low in the forecast. It is not because I feel strongly in one way or another. I have seen this set up before result in a huge amount of snow, and I have also seen the precipitation find a way to mostly miss our area.

Overall, most of the models are favoring the eastern portion of our forecast area which is why I have higher amounts for Forest Lakes and Vallecito.

Next Update early Tuesday morning. Thanks for the great reports today. Keep them up! Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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