Thursday Storm Wrap Up

Published Thursday at 12:20 pm

Well, we were not expecting this to be a big storm and we knew temperatures would be a concern. The warm air won out in the lower elevations early.  There was some leftover energy that tapped into the remaining moisture this morning, resulting in moderate to heavy snow at times across the mid and higher elevation areas. It looks like the westerly flow has kicked in. It is still slightly southwesterly going into Wolf Creek and it is still dumping there. Last I saw things had slowed down in Telluride, but don’t be surprised if snow showers redevelop as northwesterly flow develops later today.

Thanks for all of the reports, it was fun to see the tone of the emails change as snow squalls developed across a number of areas.

As of this morning, the Canadian has given up on early morning precipitation on Sunday. No other models show precipitation developing Sunday either.

So the focus will shift to the middle of next week. As I have mentioned a couple of times, the models agree that the pieces are going to come together by next Wednesday or Thursday for an extended period of colder weather with low pressure dominating the western half of the US. That does not guarantee that a big storm or a number of storms will develop, it just means the gates will be wide open for them to track into the area should they develop.

Until then a ridge is going to park itself over the area and temperatures are going to rebound.

Enjoy the sunshine and warmer temps (if you are into that sort of thing). My next update will be either this weekend or sooner if there is something specific that catches my eye.

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Wednesday Afternoon Update

Published at 1:50 pm on Wednesday.

As I watched the radar images of the system coming onshore in SoCal (12:30 pm) I was a bit surprised how much convection this system has. It looks like the morning run of the high-resolution NAM 3km model missed this.

With temps in the 40s and 50s, this is not a picture-perfect day for those parts! I used to travel frequently to LA when I had an office there. My two favorite things to watch were afternoon car chases and the media coverage anytime it would rain.

The main question is, does this mean the storm is stronger than we thought and will be stronger when it arrives? None of the morning models except the Euro showed a colder storm when it came onshore. Even though the Euro detected the deeper pressure, it didn’t change the precipitation amounts. The Euro is and has been forecasting higher amounts of precipitation for lower elevations than the other models.

Here is the latest Euro run.

Canadian

GFS

The German model is showing a slightly further south storm track.

I don’t usually use medium resolution models on storm days. I prefer high-resolution models, but this time I am going to blend the four medium-resolution models. The afternoon high-resolution NAM 3km model is out and it too looks to have missed the boat on the SoCal convection.

Here are my forecasts for snow, the amounts are before melting occurs Thursday afternoon.

Northern New Mexico will more than likely see very light rain and some of it may be freezing rain.

Cortez:  A trace to an inch of snow with the possibility of freezing rain.

Dolores, Mancos, Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio:  1 to 3 inches.

Mid-elevation areas including Pagosa Springs and Ouray:  2 to 4 inches.

Vallecito, Lemon, Tween Lakes Durango Hills and Aspen Trails areas above 7,800 feet:  3 to 5 inches.

Mayday, Rico, Purgatory, Silverton, and Telluride 4 to 7 inches.

Wolf Creek:  7 to 10 inches.

Snow will taper off in most areas except for Telluride and Ouray in the afternoon.

Things will warm up slightly over the weekend. Previous runs of the Euro and the current and previous runs of the Canadian model show some more precipitation Saturday night into Sunday morning. It is something to keep an eye on but I have low confidence in that happening at the moment.

For those of you who are hoping for more, good news! It looks like by the middle of the week we are going to transition into a colder and stormier pattern.

Next Update Thursday, thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Wednesday Morning Storm Update–Advisory Issued

Published at 7:30 am Wednesday

Overnight the models remained consistent with the arrival of the storm. They show the snow starting before 2 am in all areas at or above 6,500 feet.

The models are not consistent with QPF (precipitation). This is going to lead to a tricky forecast. One positive that I noticed with last night’s Euro run was that the core of the storm was slightly cooler than it had been in previous runs.

Here are the models from last night.

Euro

Canadian

The GFS is changing every 6 hours so I am going to wait on that until the morning run is out. The NOAA and WPC blended models have a large dose of the GFS in their blends which I think is affecting their accuracy as well.

Here is the new advisory out this morning.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
310 AM MST WED MAR 3 2021

COZ019-032200-
/O.NEW.KGJT.WW.Y.0017.210304T0600Z-210305T0000Z/
SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF SILVERTON, RICO, AND HESPERUS
310 AM MST WED MAR 3 2021

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING TO
5 PM MST THURSDAY…

* WHAT…SNOW. TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE.

* WHERE…SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING TO 5 PM MST THURSDAY.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT.

Next update this afternoon, thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Tuesday Update On Thursday’s Storm

Published Tuesday 3/2/21 at 12:30 pm

Not a lot of changes in the last 24 hours, at least not in the short term. All of the models are set on a slightly earlier arrival at the moment. We will see if there are any last-minute adjustments later today and tonight. If there is not, precipitation could start between 11 pm Wednesday and 2 am Thursday.

This is not likely going to be a big storm for the lower elevations. There is a bit of a spread in the model runs for precipitation over the resort areas and some mid-elevation areas north of 160. This will likely lead to advisory level snowfall for those areas.  I would not be surprised to see a Winter Storm Watch issued as early as this afternoon, but no later than tomorrow morning for 6 to 12 inches for areas above 8,500 feet.

Because of the spread among the models for higher elevation precipitation, I am going to include some additional models to the four that I usually post.

I will start with the GFS. NOAA is working on a GFS upgrade, I have access to the beta version. I don’t use it that often, but I noticed that it is showing some similarities to the Euro and Canadian in the long-term forecast so I thought I would bring it into the line-up. The regular GFS  has a different solution in the long term.

GFS

New GFS beta

Euro

Canadian

German

NDFD, which is the National Weather Service high-resolution blended model.

Lastly, the WPC model. This is NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center high-resolution blended model.

Sometimes these models generate more of a “wishcast” than a forecast, but I wanted to share them in case some of the higher totals come to fruition.  The low is still out over the ocean, so you never know.

Two updates tomorrow, one in the morning and the other late afternoon. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Update On Thursday’s Storm And A Look Ahead

Published Monday at 12:30 pm

Happy meteorological spring! Meteorologists simplify our seasons: March 1st is spring, June 1st is summer, September 1 st is fall, and meteorological winter starts December 1st. They do this to make it easier to compare data from year to year.

After 24 hours of additional model runs, there is still pretty good agreement on the track and duration of our first winter storm of the spring.

Here is the storm right now circled in purple.

The storm is still expected to come onshore late Wednesday and move into our area very early Thursday morning. I have not seen the models slow the arrival yet, but closed low-pressure systems have a habit of taking their time to come onshore, so don’t be surprised if this happens. With that being said, the models actually sped the arrival up with this morning’s model runs.

If the timing does not change, we will be waking up Thursday to snow. The snow will continue through the morning. Right now there is a few degrees of spread among the models for Thursday’s high temperatures which will determine when the snow will change over to a mix or rain in the lower elevations. If you are following the NOAA point forecasts, they are warmer than all of the models I have looked at for highs on Thursday (as of Monday at 11:00 am)

Here are the latest model runs.

GFS (which is now the most bullish on overall precipitation totals)

German (which is most bullish for the three Ski Resorts)

Canadian

Euro

Sick of winter? It looks like we will flip into a warmer pattern starting on Friday for a few days. Not that sick of winter? No worries, the models are already showing another storm about a week after this one. Most models show cooler and unsettled weather sticking around for a while after the 10th.

Next Update Tuesday, thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Model Agreement Regarding Thursday’s Storm!

Published Sunday at 7:15 am

In the last 24 hours, the weather models have finally shown strong similarities in the track of a storm that should make it into our area on Thursday. The Canadian and Euro were on board early, the GFS capitulated finally in its last few runs over the last 18 hours.

This storm is a classic closed circulation low-pressure system, it is much different than what we have seen in the last 10 days. The models show it coming onshore Wednesday night over Southern California then moving east-northeast leaving snow over Northern Arizona and Southern Utah before (hopefully) making its way into our forecast area on Thursday. This is a warm core system so some low elevation areas will see some rain and maybe a mix before the snow. Any and all precipitation type will be great to have.

Here is the early look at liquid precipitation totals for this storm

Canadian

Euro

German

GFS

Model consensus is one of the most important things forecasters look for when they determine their confidence level in a storm. This is the best thing I have seen in 10 days. I got an email from a follower last night saying she had just washed her car. If you are new, some of the more hardcore weather followers believe that such sacrificial rituals help bring on storms. I know my vehicle needs a wash, so what the heck…

Next Update Monday, thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Light Snow For Some

Published 2/24/21 Wednesday at 12:40 pm

I have not gone anywhere, nor have I been ill. There just has not been a lot of things to talk about. Nothing has changed too much in the last four days, the models are still out of sync beyond a couple of days out.

Overnight, a weak storm system will make its way towards the forecast area. As it moves east Thursday it will tap into a little more moisture and Wolf Creek may benefit from this. The medium and low-resolution models are struggling with this, but the high-resolution NAM 3km model has shown this additional moisture for Wolf Creek in its last 3 model runs.  A similar thing happened Saturday, most models were discounting the totals for Telluride and Ouray, but the high-resolution model picked up on it.

So based on what I am seeing from that model this morning, 2 to 4 inches of snow could fall by late Thursday for Telluride and Ouray, with a dusting to 2 inches for Silverton, Purgatory, and Rico.  If this model is correct, 5 to 9 inches could accumulate at Wolf Creek with most of it falling during the day on Thursday.

Here is that high-resolution model run I am using for this forecast.

A few other areas may get a dusting, especially above 7,400 feet. There are several other opportunities for light snow over the next week. The models are all handling things differently but the next best chance for light snow will be Saturday night.

I plan to post over the next few days. I am not sure when exactly, but I think the models will come into better agreement over the next couple of days regarding the weekend. That will give me something to discuss. I look forward to snow reports from the areas that get snow. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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A Little Snow For The Northern Portion Of The Forecast Area

Published Saturday 2/20/21 at 9 am.

A small disturbance will move south this afternoon resulting in snow falling before and after the front passes through. Telluride, Ouray, and Red Mountain Pass will see the biggest impacts. Light snow could spillover to Silverton, Rico,  Purgatory, Mayday, and Wolf Creek with a dusting to 2 inches possible.

 

Here is the latest advisory:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
304 AM MST SAT FEB 20 2021

COZ018-202100-
/O.EXB.KGJT.WW.Y.0015.210220T2100Z-210221T1200Z/
NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF TELLURIDE, OURAY, AND LAKE CITY
304 AM MST SAT FEB 20 2021

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 5 AM MST SUNDAY…

* WHAT…SNOW EXPECTED, HEAVY AT TIMES. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 35 MPH.

* WHERE…NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 5 AM MST SUNDAY.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT.

This is a fairly aggressive advisory. If it were me I would scale it back just slightly. Some areas may indeed get 10 inches or more but it likely will fall in uninhabited areas. Montrose will get a dusting, Ridgway will get a couple of inches. Telluride and Ouray will likely be in the 3 to 6-inch range.

Here is the latest high-resolution NAM 3km.

You can see a couple of bullseyes in blue.

Looking ahead, the models are (predictably) out of sync. The Euro is bringing in a storm for Wednesday and Thursday. A respectable storm at that. The GFS and Canadian don’t see it. Usually, the Canadian comes around as time goes on. The GFS takes longer. The Euro has been showing this feature since Thursday night. It could be a couple of days before the models get in sync, it will be interesting to see who wins.

I was asked if I thought we were done with snow in the lower elevations, the answer is no. I think we are going to evolve back into an active period of weather as we head into March.

Next Update Sunday. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Nothing To See Here…

Thursday 2/18/21 at 1:10 pm

Not for a while anyway. The next small system will affect the northern portion of the forecast area, favoring the Northwest San Juans on Saturday night. At the moment, the models are forecasting sub-advisory amounts.

Currently, the GFS is showing the highest totals with a potential Gorge event possible. Here is the latest GFS.

Right now, the future looks pretty quiet on the individual model runs. These are referred to as the deterministic model runs. The other type of model runs are the mean runs for the model family. They are called ensemble models. The Euro Ensemble has 52 model members,  the GFS Ensemble has 22 model members and the Canadian Ensemble has 20 model members.

Here is the Euro ensemble run showing anomalously high or low pressure between Monday 2/22 through Monday 3/1.

Euro ensemble run 2/18/21 12z

The warmer colors of yellow, orange and red tones represent high pressure, where storms are less likely to develop. The cooler colors of blue, green, and gray represent below normal pressure, where storms are likely to occur. Ensemble models, in my opinion, are not a great tool for short-term forecasts in our area but are very good at indicating long-term patterns.

Next Update Saturday, thanks for following and supporting the site.

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Light Snow Later Today

Published Wednesday 2/17/21 11:45 am

A small disturbance will drift down into Colorado later today. The flow will not be favorable for most areas but a few areas will see light accumulations.

At the moment it looks like 2 to 4 inches will fall in Telluride with 1 to 3 inches for Silverton and Ouray. Wolf Creek and Purgatory could get 1 to 2 inches in spillover precipitation from this disturbance. Flurries may fall in the mid-elevations and a dusting of snow could accumulate down to Glacier, Lemon, and Vallecito.

Telluride had a big day yesterday and ended up with 17 inches for the event. Wolf Creek added a couple of inches last night.

There is a chance of snow for Saturday night and the next decent chance for most of us will be around Thursday, February 25th.

I expect the models to be compromised in the coming days. We are looking at a large Continental-sized pattern change over the next several days. That is good news for folks across the Midwest, Great Lakes, the South, and especially Texas, where they will finally warm back up and hopefully be able to restore power and water to the multi-millions there affected by the Polar Vortex.

The bad news for weather fans is that a pattern shift of this magnitude will affect weather model performance as the models try to figure out how the future pattern will evolve. The two most likely options are that either we end up in a more zonal pattern, with the jet stream basically going across the middle of the Continental US (Conus), or we end up with a trough over the western half of the Conus. Either of those solutions could be beneficial for our area, but it will be difficult to put too much faith into model solutions until this pattern change occurs.

Next Update Thursday. Thanks for following and supporting the site.

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