The Models Came Out To Play Together This Morning!

12/20/21 1:05 pm

Boy did they…I hope this show of unity continues!

The Canadian shows the precipitation getting underway Thursday morning around 8 am. The GFS and Euro favor an afternoon start. From this, I can now say if you need to travel over the 160 or 550 passes on Thursday the optimum time to do that would be Thursday morning. I also expect minimal to no effects on flights before Thursday late afternoon or evening.

Through Thursday, this is going to be primarily a west slope storm. It also is starting to look like we may get a lull in the precipitation at some point on Friday. It may stop in some areas or just get lighter for a while in some of the higher elevations.

Another wave comes in some time on Saturday. However, the highest totals are still expected in the first wave. This morning I showed the precipitation totals through Saturday night. If I did that again this afternoon it would be right in the middle of that second wave of precipitation. So I went ahead and extended the totals to include the precipitation for an extra 24 hours through late Sunday.

Chances are this is going to be one of those situations where the models are right for the wrong reasons. What that means is that the models get the totals correct, but they are not necessarily correct on when it will fall.

The models still disagree a bit about whether some of the snow will make it over Wolf Creek. It is beginning to look like Wolf Creek will just eat everything the storm throws at it. The models are showing some pretty impressive totals. Wait until you see the Canadian run!

There are still disagreements regarding the precipitation types, as well as when and at what elevation the snow will fall. Above 8,500 feet, all of the precipitation should fall as snow. The rest of us will probably see a little bit of everything. Everyone at or above 6,500 feet will get snow at some point, it is just too early to pinpoint when and for how long.

The models did a poor job over the last 72 hours with temperatures. In the NWS discussion this morning this was mentioned. They said they have to keep cutting back the high temperatures from the models’ guidance every day. Hopefully, this trend will continue and cooler air will win out. I don’t really want to mess with the wet heavy stuff again.

I mentioned the crazy model run from the Canadian this morning. Let’s start with that. These totals are from Thursday morning through Sunday evening.

Wolf Creek has had its share of storms with incredible multi-day totals over the years. I have never witnessed anything like this. I have also never seen a model go this high with a total there, but I know it is not without precedent. As soon as the other models also show 8 feet of snow for Wolf Creek, I will start to take this more seriously. For now, I have to conclude that this is an anomalous run.

Here is the Euro, it “only” shows 3+ feet of snow for Wolf Creek.

Here is the GFS it is showing between 3 and 4 feet of snow at Wolf Creek.

As far as the totals for the other resorts go, all of these model runs are showing 2+ feet of snow.


The National Weather Service will likely issue an SWS (Special Weather Statement) or WSW (Winter Storm Watch)  tomorrow. I would not be surprised to read “1 to 3+ feet” for areas above 8,500 feet in the wording.

Unless we get an early SWS or WSW issuance from the NWS this afternoon, my next update will be tomorrow morning. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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