Published Wednesday 2/3/21 at 8:50 am
This could be an interesting afternoon in the lower and mid-elevations. How about a chance for a thunderstorm after 2 pm? The high-resolution NAM model is showing exactly that. Montezuma County and La Plata County south of Rockwood have the best chance of seeing a thunderstorm this afternoon and into the early evening. Most areas, especially below 8,000 feet, are going to see rain throughout the day. This evening snow levels will drop abruptly and there may be some brief heavy snow as the front descends through the area. The problem is that most of the precipitation will shut down as the front passes.
If you have been following for a while, you probably remember me referring to these types of setups as a “was that it?” storm. In the mid and lower elevations the temperature drops, the snow starts getting heavy, snow squalls develop, and you barely have time to even talk about it to anyone before it comes to an abrupt halt.
Above 8,500 feet the front does not pass as quickly so there may be enough time to accumulate a couple of inches. This is when most of the snow will accumulate at Purgatory. Depending on how much rain the lower and mid-elevation areas receive, this could turn into a flash-freezing event for portions of 160 and 550. If you are driving this evening over those highways keep an eye on the thermometer.
There is one other solution that may happen before the front passes through. We may get a period of westerly flow which would enhance precipitation in areas that favor that.
The High-Resolution NAM 3km model shows that happening this evening before the passage of the front.
The blues and yellow shades show the enhanced precipitation in eastern Montezuma and Dolores Counties as well the La Platas and the southwest quadrant of La Plata County. Portions of eastern Archuleta east of Bayfield benefit from the westerly flow as well as Telluride and Wolf Creek.
My biggest change in the past 24 hours is to reduce snow totals for Purgatory to 3 to 5 inches, which might be too optimistic, we’ll see. Telluride and Ouray to Red Mountain should still see 6 to 9 inches of snow. Wolf Creek should not have any trouble accumulating 8 to 12 inches.
Any of the mid-elevations could see a couple of inches of snow later this evening. There may be a surprise or two from the westerly flow in the areas I outlined earlier. Lower elevations will probably only get a dusting to an inch.
I would love to hear any thunderstorm reports with rain or snow this afternoon and evening. Thanks for following and supporting the site!