Epic Week Ahead!

12/26/21 Sunday 5:25 am

The big story today is going to be the wind! Check out the 180 mph jet streak coming right over the forecast area.

The wind will mix down to the surface with 50 to 70 mph wind gusts at or above 9,000 feet! Traveling over passes could be challenging today.

Overnight, the NWS did a little house cleaning and fixed the Winter Storm Warning for Telluride and Ouray. Yesterday they had those locations lumped in with Vail.  They have since downgraded to a Winter Weather Advisory for 3 to 8 inches. That is more realistic.

I wrote yesterday that I did not believe the models supported the Winter Storm Warning for  7 to 14 inches for Silverton and Rico. BTW if you are new to all of this when the NWS refers to Rico they are also referring to Purgatory. I still don’t see support for those numbers. I am more comfortable with 5 to 9 inches at those locations, we’ll see.

As far as Wolf Creek goes I have no idea what fell yesterday and overnight. There was a bit of a slowdown yesterday with just flurries. But the webcams show it dumping again. Yesterday morning their Winter Storm Warning was for 10-20 additional from 2 am this morning until 5 am Monday. I was fully on board with that.  Yesterday afternoon, the NWS backed off to 6 to 15 inches. This morning, they were calling for  “an additional 4 to 13 inches”. I think that is too conservative.

For today, snow will fill in across the forecast area. There may be some pockets of heavy snow from time to time above 8,000 feet but this is a quick mover. The wind will cause some white-out conditions, especially over the higher terrain. 1 or 2 inches could fall in the lower elevations. 2 to 4 inches are possible above 7,000 feet. I already mentioned that 5 to 9 inches look good for Purgatory, Rico, and Silverton, I would add Mayday and other areas above 8,500 feet to that list.  NWS is saying 3 to 8 for Telluride so I will stick with that.

Flurries will linger over the higher elevations tomorrow and then, later in the afternoon, a bigger storm will come in across the area. Throughout the week, it is going to get difficult to tell when one storm ends and another begins.  Here is the Euro in motion. I am starting it Monday morning right as the Winter Storm Warning ends at 5 am.

Here are the forecasted totals for snow and liquid this week. The forecast period is now through Sunday, January 2nd. With the snow maps, add 20% to the total for areas above 8,500 feet.

GFS snow forecast area view

GFS snow Colorado view

Euro snow forecast area view

Euro snow Colorado view

NBM snow forecast area view

NBM snow Colorado view

Here are the liquid-equivalent maps. If you prefer these maps then I assume a couple of things. First, you know your way around these maps. Second, you know what ratios to apply. I am using 12 to 1 above 8,500 feet, 11 to 1 from 7,400 to 8,500 feet, and 10-1 (default) below 7,000 feet.


GFS liquid

Euro liquid

NBM liquid

Have fun but be careful out there today. It looks like the snow has started to pick up at Telluride and Purgatory since I started this post a couple of hours ago, and it appears to still be snowing moderately at Wolf Creek.

My next update will be Monday morning. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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