Model Mayhem In The Short, Medium And Long Term

Published Monday 2/1/21 at 12:30 pm

I have been complaining about the models a lot lately. What looked like a series of storms and an extended period of stormy weather is now looking like a pattern change that would result in much of southwest Colorado being out of the storm track.

It is pretty normal to have poor model performance leading up to a major pattern change. We talked about the Stratospheric Warming Event some time ago and I said it can take a while for its effects to take place. It now looks like a ridge is going to build off the west coast all of the way up to the Gulf of Alaska. This is going to dislodge the Polar Vortex and it looks like it will eventually end up over the Upper Midwest and The Great Lakes Regions.

If this occurs, the storm track will ride up over the ridge and then down into Montana, Wyoming, and Eastern Colorado. This is less than ideal, but it does not mean it will be impossible to see some snow after this storm. The Northern and Central Mountains would be favored, but the Northwest San Juans can still get some snow. There are a couple of other scenarios that can come into play. Storms can come in under the ridge and result in snow across our area. The other scenario I like a lot better. This involves the Vortex retrograding west and flattening the ridge, which would pull the storm track into a favorable position.

At this point, it is too early to rule anything out. The models are showing the Vortex crushing the temps in Upper Midwest and Great Lakes State by next Sunday and Monday through Thursday the 11th.

Here are the overnight low temps in those areas for Monday morning. The cold will at least temporarily shift east throughout the week.

This far out, I feel like I am a bit in the weeds, but this would explain the problem with the models and their inconsistencies in dealing with the system coming in on Wednesday.

So let’s get back to that. The GFS and Euro flipped positions again overnight.

Here is the latest Euro

The Euro is showing deep southwest flow, especially setting up in Archuleta and Mineral Counties, which will transition into Northwest flow which will help out the Northwest San Juans.


The GFS is showing weak southwest flow that quickly transitions to northwest flow.

The German ICON

Of all of the model runs I have looked at, the German model makes less sense than any other. Rarely if ever have I seen a precipitation pattern that ends up like this.

Whatever happens, we will take what we can get. I am not concerned with the pattern change. In January 2019, we entered a dry pattern that started on the 19th and lasted until February 5th. Then, in February 2019 we set all-time records for snowfall all across the area.

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