Winter Storm Warnings Issued But…

6 am

I don’t usually try to take to big of a public stand with the NWS but I really hope they fix the wording on the lower elevation warnings. Once again as you will read they have issued a blanket Winter Storm Warning and the amounts they have listed are too low for Durango and Bayfield and Pagosa. So to the City and County officials, first responders and most of all CDOT and the plow contractors who follow me please be aware of this. At the moment I am expecting 12-20 inches or more in town in Durango, Bayfield and Pagosa.

Here is their low elevation WSW

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
342 AM MST WED FEB 20 2019

COZ020>023-UTZ022-029-202100-
/O.UPG.KGJT.WS.A.0005.190221T0000Z-190223T0000Z/
/O.EXA.KGJT.WS.W.0007.190221T0000Z-190223T0000Z/
PARADOX VALLEY/LOWER DOLORES RIVER-
FOUR CORNERS/UPPER DOLORES RIVER-ANIMAS RIVER BASIN-
SAN JUAN RIVER BASIN-SOUTHEAST UTAH-CANYONLANDS/NATURAL BRIDGES-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF GATEWAY, NUCLA, CORTEZ, DOVE CREEK,
MANCOS, DURANGO, BAYFIELD, IGNACIO, PAGOSA SPRINGS, BLANDING,
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK,
AND FRY CANYON
342 AM MST WED FEB 20 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO
5 PM MST FRIDAY…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED TO DEVELOP BY THIS EVENING. TOTAL
SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 12 INCHES EXPECTED. LOCALLY HIGHER
ACCUMULATIONS ARE POSSIBLE.

* WHERE…PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST UTAH AND SOUTHWEST COLORADO.

* WHEN…FROM 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 5 PM MST FRIDAY.

Here is the higher elevation Winter Storm Warning, I am generally in agreement with it, based on how the last storm did at elevation and this storm taking a more southern path foothill locations (mid-elevations) may very well outperform some of the higher mountain locations with the exception of Wolf Creek.

COZ018-019-UTZ028-202100-
/O.CON.KGJT.WS.W.0007.190221T0000Z-190223T0000Z/
NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
LA SAL AND ABAJO MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF TELLURIDE, OURAY, LAKE CITY, SILVERTON,
RICO, HESPERUS, AND MONTICELLO
342 AM MST WED FEB 20 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS
AFTERNOON TO 5 PM MST FRIDAY…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED TO REDEVELOP BY THIS EVENING AND
PERSIST FOR PROLONGED PERIODS THROUGH FRIDAY. TOTAL SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS OF 12 TO 24 INCHES ARE EXPECTED WITH LOCALLY
HIGHER MOUNTAINS UP 33 INCHES POSSIBLE.

* WHERE…SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 5 PM WEDNESDAY TO 5 PM MST FRIDAY.

 

I will be updating throughout the day stay tuned!

 

 

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The Lull Narrows

My biggest take away after seeing the snow that some areas are getting and seeing the models is that the time period between the two storms narrows, it now looks like snow could return Wednesday early evening.

Let’s just jump right in here are all of the morning models, as normal I am going to leave off the Canadian.

Once again we are looking at liquid equivalent totals and most of the snow should fall at ratios between 17-1 and 19-1 so pick your multiplier of choice if you are close to or above 8,000 feet I would use the higher number.

Here is the NAM model. the NAM is a short term model so these amounts are only through Friday at 5 pm

21912zNAM

Here is the GFS

21912zGFS.png

Here is the Euro

2191212zEuro

If these models are right certain mid-elevation areas could get another 30 inches or more of snow by Saturday morning.

Things can change dramatically in a couple of days, but the models have been eerily consistent plan accordingly!

 

 

 

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A Brief Break Wednesday Before The Next Bunch!

7:30 am

As has been the case a few times this season Purgatory did not do as well as many areas to the south. This can be related to wind direction and the strength of the forcing, at times it just can’t get that far north. It is tricky, it tells me there was more of a west-southwesterly flow west of 550, this really favors the western mid elevations. As the waves moved east of 550 there was more of south-southwesterly flow.  Here we had          2 3/4″ overnight bringing the storm total to 21 inches. It is still snowing lightly at the moment, I expect snow to continue throughout the day, I am not seeing any intense bands like yesterday, but let me know if that happens and where you are at.

I will talk more about the Thursday-Friday storm later today and I will hopefully firm things up Wednesday afternoon as best as I can. As soon the current Warnings expire NWS will issue new Watches for the area (either this afternoon or overnight).

The good news is early indications show 18-1 ratios for Thursday and a little lower (15 or 16-1) for Friday. Looking at the entire forecast area and using the Euro model which is showing the lowest totals for the next storm, it appears another 1-3 feet is on the way between very early Thursday-Saturday.  If the GFS is right it will be more than that.

 

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Lull

4:45 pm

It looks like a few heavy bands will continue to the east of Durango especially the 501 corridor to Pagosa. To the west, it looks like the heaviest snow has occurred but a few more waves could set up later this evening and into the overnight hours. As I mentioned in my last update I was a little skeptical of that HiRes model run, but we will just have to wait and see. All of the models are agreeing on more snow for everyone tonight and tomorrow. I think this storm has exceeded a lot of expectations, and if the next one comes close to what the models are predicting it will be crazy. Wednesday will be a great day to gear up for the next storm! Next update probably in the morning unless I see something interesting between now and then.

 

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Half Way There?

The afternoon short term model is out and it shows that many locations are about halfway to their storm total. Yes, really.  Once again it focuses on the east, however its parent model, the NAM shows most falling to the west so who knows. These are the projected amounts from 11 am today for additional amounts to fall by the end of the storm on Tuesday.

 

Screenshot 2019-02-18 at 1.26.37 PM (1) Screenshot 2019-02-17 at 12.41.45 PM

My caveat is that the afternoon run of this model never seems as reliable as the morning run, but we will see, I was very surprised to see it come in this heavy.  Multiply by 18 to see your projected totals. If we see another heavy wave come in around 3 or 4 pm as its future radar predicts, I will have more confidence in the model.

It has moderated a bit here at the DWG headquarters we have had 11 inches since 8 am bringing the storm total to 14 1/2 inches.

 

 

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It Could Be A Record Week

This morning an intense band of snow developed just west of town between 9 and 10am with snowfall rates exceeding 3 inches per hour. It was the heaviest snow I have experienced in the last 20 years. Here at HQ in Dwest 2 we had 3 1/2 inches overnight but since 8 am we have had another 9 1/2 inches, (12:20 we are now under another 3+ per hour heavy band)

The data from the Euro and GFS was suspect because they were predicting storm totals in some case less than has already fallen.

I am anxious to get some feedback on where other heavier bands are setting up in the area. The short term hourly model shows several waves continuing to develop with a focus east of Durango, however, that is what the morning WRF model said as well and so far most of the activity has focused on the west. I am so excited about getting radar this year, the models will then have more data to help out with the short term forecasts.

The models are still showing a monster storm for Thursday and Friday, they all are on it. Not to take away from what we are currently experiencing, but this next one would be large enough to set 5-day record totals for the area (between this storm and the next).

Wednesday will be a good day to get things done, if, and it is still an if at that this point, so IF the Thursday Friday storm comes together the Euro is now showing an additional 1-2 1/2 ” of liquid, I still expect ratios between 14-20 to 1.

I am going to go move snow.

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More To Come

8 am

Another band of snow will work its way into the area from west to east around 9-10 am, Cortez and Mancos will be the first to see it. Let us know.

I am not sure how everyone came out last night, I had 3 1/2 at the house, but this thing is far from over, yesterday I talked about heavier bands setting up over certain areas. The short term HiRes model is all in on this happening on for the eastern half of La Plata and all of Archuleta County today

It shows some pretty remarkable totals. This is only until midnight tonight. I will update after the other models come out, but I wanted you to be aware of what this model is saying this morning.

 

 

Screenshot 2019-02-18 at 7.46.07 AM  Screenshot 2019-02-17 at 12.41.45 PM

If this verifies Bayfield would get 10-15 inches by midnight and Forest Lakes and the entire 240 corridor from Edgemont to Vallecito would see 12-20 inches by midnight.

In town, Durango would see 5-8 inches more. Dwest and areas west would generally see 8-15 inches. Purgatory 6-12, Pagosa 8-12. Cortez, Mancos and Dolores 2-6 inches. Mayday would be in 14-20 range. Breen to Shenandoah and areas south etc would be in the 5-10 inch range. Aztec and Farmington 2-4.

Again this is just today until midnight.

I am sorry for the wide range in totals but I was caught off guard with this model run and I want to see more data. It is also showing less precip on Tuesday than I was counting on.

Some of you picked up on the fact that I called the Thursday-Friday system a “major” storm. That is correct, the models are still leaning towards higher totals with that one.

I will be posting frequently today stay tuned.

 

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Storm 1: Sunday Through Tuesday

 

I don’t even know where to start, the first system should move in after dark, this first system is going to be a series of waves that a very difficult to time, there will be periods of light and heavy snow, at the moment it looks like light snow will dominate the area until Monday afternoon when a reinforcing strong wave comes with another one Tuesday morning. The models are trying to decide where to put the heaviest bands they have been back and forth between western La Plata and all of Archuleta County. Things should wind down late Tuesday or early Wednesday for 12-18 hours before what is beginning to look like a bigger storm will come in. There is some uncertainty on this one, so I am only going to talk about the first one or now.

I mentioned this morning that this storm is going to be perfectly efficient at making snow.  The lowest elevations should enjoy 17-1 snow ratios. Slightly higher above 7,000 feet. Because of this, we will have to revert back to the precipitation output from the models.  Multiply by the numbers in your area by 17 to convert the liquid. Sometimes I forget to mention that you match the colors on the chart to numbers on the graph to the right to determine which value each color represents.

Here is a regional view of what the latest Euro is expecting between now and Wednesday morning.

Screenshot 2019-02-17 at 12.41.18 PM  Screenshot 2019-02-17 at 12.41.45 PM

In this case, the heavier bands are coming into eastern La Plata and all of Archuleta Counties.

As I mentioned timing the waves and determining where the heavy bands set up is nearly impossible. Based on what I am seeing the NWS point forecasts are still too low.

I can only give a wide range of totals for what to expect at the moment. This is for the first system ending late Tuesday early Wednesday.

Farmington 2-5″

Aztec 3-6″

Cortez and Ignacio 4-7″

Durango, Bayfield, Mancos 7-12″

Wolf Creek 18-28″

Pagosa, and ALL other areas 12-20″

Tomorrow I may be able to narrow down some key areas, but with a long term event like this, a lot can change.

Things should get going this evening, the latest short term model is back and forth on how heavy this is going to start,  so be ready for anything. Also, there will be lulls, don’t mistake a lull for the end because we should see snow through Tuesday afternoon /evening. The next storm is better organized and if everything comes together, it should roll in late Wednesday or early Thursday and stick around until late Friday or early Saturday and it could bring heavier snow than this first storm.

 

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Warnings Issued

6:15 am

Yesterday afternoon there were advisories and warnings issued and I didn’t post them because I thought they were too low. They corrected that overnight. The writer of the AFD (area forecast discussion) is one of my favorites here is a quote from him about the upcoming week:  “It might be easier to talk about when there won`t be a threat of
snowfall next week…ok no it won`t.”

So here are the new Winter Storm Warnings and advisory for Cortez. They go from high to low.

 

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
443 AM MST SUN FEB 17 2019

..ANOTHER PACIFIC STORM WILL BRING PROLONG WINTRY WEATHER

.A STORM FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST WILL THROUGH WESTERN UTAH
TODAY AND TONIGHT WITH THE WEST TO SOUTHWEST FLOW AHEAD OF THIS
STORM BRINGING WIDESPREAD SNOWFALL TO PORTIONS OF SOUTHWEST AND
CENTRAL COLORADO AND SOUTHEAST UTAH THIS EVENING THROUGH TUESDAY.

COZ018-019-172100-
/O.UPG.KGJT.WS.A.0004.190217T2200Z-190220T0100Z/
/O.NEW.KGJT.WS.W.0005.190217T2200Z-190220T0100Z/
NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF TELLURIDE, OURAY, LAKE CITY, SILVERTON,
RICO, AND HESPERUS
443 AM MST SUN FEB 17 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO
6 PM MST TUESDAY…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 10 TO
24 INCHES EXPECTED.

* WHERE…NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS AND SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN
MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 6 PM MST TUESDAY. HEAVIEST
SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED TONIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO
IMPOSSIBLE. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING
OR EVENING COMMUTE. THE COLD WIND CHILLS AS LOW AS 20 BELOW
ZERO COULD CAUSE FROSTBITE ON EXPOSED SKIN IN AS LITTLE AS 30
MINUTES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER
CONDITIONS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. IF YOU
MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD AND WATER IN YOUR
VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN
BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1.

COZ022-023-172100-
/O.UPG.KGJT.WS.A.0004.190217T2200Z-190220T0100Z/
/O.NEW.KGJT.WS.W.0005.190218T0100Z-190220T0100Z/
ANIMAS RIVER BASIN-SAN JUAN RIVER BASIN-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF DURANGO, BAYFIELD, IGNACIO,
AND PAGOSA SPRINGS
443 AM MST SUN FEB 17 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM
MST TUESDAY…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 13
INCHES EXPECTED.

* WHERE…ANIMAS RIVER BASIN AND SAN JUAN RIVER BASIN.

* WHEN…FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MST TUESDAY. HEAVIEST
SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED TONIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO
IMPOSSIBLE. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING
OR EVENING COMMUTE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER
CONDITIONS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. IF YOU
MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD AND WATER IN YOUR
VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN
BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1.

COZ020-021-172100-
/O.NEW.KGJT.WW.Y.0014.190218T0100Z-190220T0100Z/
PARADOX VALLEY/LOWER DOLORES RIVER-
FOUR CORNERS/UPPER DOLORES RIVER-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF GATEWAY, NUCLA, CORTEZ, DOVE CREEK,
AND MANCOS
443 AM MST SUN FEB 17 2019

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO
6 PM MST TUESDAY ABOVE 5500 FEET…

* WHAT…SNOW EXPECTED ABOVE 5500 FEET. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS
OF 3 TO 6 INCHES EXPECTED WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE.

* WHERE…PARADOX VALLEY/LOWER DOLORES RIVER AND FOUR
CORNERS/UPPER DOLORES RIVER.

* WHEN…FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM MST TUESDAY. HEAVIEST
SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED TONIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. THE
HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING OR EVENING
COMMUTE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS PERIODS OF SNOW WILL
CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SNOW COVERED ROADS
AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN
BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1.

 

Later today I will try to break these amounts out a little better, at a glance, it looks like we will be in PERFECT snowmaking conditions averaging 18-1 ratios and higher at times. This means every 1/2 inch of liquid would produce 9 inches of snow.

 

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Sunday Through Tuesday…

Saturday noon

I accidentally hit publish instead of “save” if you received the partial update I apologize, this is the finished version.

Although there is still uncertainty between the surface map providers as to where the system that was supposed to come through this morning actually is, it will either turn out to be a non-event as it has already passed or a light event later today if it is still to our west. WU/WSI shows it still to our west.

Current WSI analysis (noon) Capture

WPC/NOAA thinks it has already past (8 am)

1cap

Who is right? Good question, if you have been following me for any length of time you have heard me complain about this numerous times so I will skip the rant. The point is, we may or may not be done for the day.

Sunday, likely in the late afternoon, the next system will begin to move into the area, cold air will be in place, a reinforcing second wave will come in overnight Monday/early Tuesday morning, things should wrap up by Tuesday evening and totals could be very impressive with the cold air leading to 15+ to 1 ratios (1 inch of liquid=15+ inches of snow). Here is the Euro’s call on the snow using a 15-1 ratio, these totals are ending Tuesday evening.

euro12z for wednesday

The GFS is just slightly less, I do not have the ability to display 15-1 in the GFS so I left it off.

There is a chance a major storm could develop Thursday through Saturday, too early to tell exactly what is going to happen there but I wanted you to be aware of it.

Next update Sunday. Stay tuned it could be a doozy of a week (again).

 

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