12/30/22 Friday 8:20 am
For today, expect on-and-off snow showers to redevelop this afternoon through Saturday morning. Another 1 to 4 inches can be expected in the lower and mid-elevations before the big system approaches on Sunday. See below for the accumulations in the higher elevations.
The NWS did something they almost never do and I like the way they are thinking. Normally, they pinpoint the heaviest window of precipitation and issue an advisory or warning for that period.
As I alluded to the last couple of days, in the higher elevations it is going to be difficult to tell when one disturbance leaves and another system arrives because it may not stop snowing, or there may be just a brief lull before it starts again.
So the NWS, recognizing this, decided to issue a long-term Winter Storm Warning beginning this evening at 6 pm and ending at 6 pm on Monday. One thing I need to mention, just because as issued the Winter Storm Warning ends on Monday at 6 pm does not mean the Winter Storm Warning conditions will stop then. I expect it to continue snowing through Tuesday and maybe Wednesday.
COZ019-301830- /O.UPG.KGJT.WS.A.0015.221231T0700Z-230102T2100Z/ /O.EXB.KGJT.WS.W.0014.221231T0100Z-230103T0100Z/ SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF SILVERTON, RICO, AND HESPERUS 325 AM MST FRI DEC 30 2022 ...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MST MONDAY... * WHAT...HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 2 FEET WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS UP TO 3 FEET POSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 35 MPH. * WHERE...SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS. * WHEN...FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MST MONDAY. * IMPACTS...TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE. PATCHY BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY, ESPECIALLY ON RIDGE TOPS.
COZ017-018-301830- /O.UPG.KGJT.WS.A.0015.221231T0700Z-230102T2100Z/ /O.EXB.KGJT.WS.W.0014.221231T0100Z-230103T0100Z/ UNCOMPAHGRE PLATEAU AND DALLAS DIVIDE- NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF RIDGWAY, GLADE PARK, TELLURIDE, OURAY, AND LAKE CITY 325 AM MST FRI DEC 30 2022 ...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MST MONDAY... * WHAT...HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 10 TO 20 INCHES, WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS UP TO 30 INCHES POSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 35 MPH. * WHERE...UNCOMPAHGRE PLATEAU AND DALLAS DIVIDE AND NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS. * WHEN...FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MST MONDAY. * IMPACTS...TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE. PATCHY BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY, ESPECIALLY ON RIDGE TOPS.
Pueblo NWS apparently did not get let in on this, they are not going to issue a Winter Storm Warning for Wolf Creek until Saturday, but I expect 2 to 3 feet there as well.
Just to repeat what I said earlier, just because the Warning expires on Monday, does not mean the storm will be over on Monday!
Noticeably absent from warnings are the lower and mid-elevations. There is a good reason for that. This is another warm-based Pacific system. Known these days as an AR, back in the day it was called “Pineapple Express”–I guess they had to change the name to AR after a stupid movie with the same name came out.
Anyway, to complicate matters further, there is snow on the ground in many areas where there was no snow for the first storm. Why does that matter? Think of a cooler, how long will food or drink stay cold without ice in the cooler? In these areas, the cooler has ice in it (snow is on the ground), this creates an inversion where the air closer to the surface is colder than the air above it. This can create an event called overrunning where light rain turns to snow before it hits the ground.
The weather models don’t handle this well, and they tend to forecast temperatures too high, so they under-forecast snow and over-forecast rain in these lower elevations.
I would be very surprised if we do not see Winter Weather Advisories or Winter Storm Warnings issued later today or tomorrow for the lower elevation areas beginning Saturday night or Sunday morning.
Here are the latest model runs showing total liquid-equivalent precipitation in inches. To be consistent with the Winter Storm Warning, these totals are only through Monday evening, so I expect the final totals to possibly be higher.
NOAA high-resolution NBM
This afternoon I will issue my preliminary forecast for the higher elevations. I am going to hold off on my lower and mid-elevation forecast until Saturday late afternoon. Thanks for following and supporting the site!
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