Update On Tropical Gulf Activity

5 days ago I mentioned the high likelihood of something developing in the Gulf of Mexico mid to late week. The Euro was right for the wrong reason as an area of low pressure slowly moved from Georgia to the SW and into the Gulf of Mexico, it is now sitting there as a closed area of low pressure getting ready to undergo rapid development in the warm waters off the coast.

Capture.JPG

The models have delayed the development from what we saw last week, and have really focused in on south-central Louisiana as the target, at this time it looks like a near miss for New Orleans but Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Lake Charles look very vulnerable to intense rainfall. Given that the United States had its wettest winter ever, and the midwest had a very wet spring and early summer and most rivers eventually find their way through Louisiana to reach the Gulf, we could be on the way to a big disaster. The storm is forecast to drift to the west and eventually go due north into Louisiana, with winds of 60-70 mph(gusts to mid-80’s) from the south, this wall of water will confront the abnormally high river levels and could cause extensive flooding. Here are the projected storm totals starting today (waves from the disturbance are already drifting in).

ecmwf-louisiana-total_precip_inch-3300000

Widespread totals from 10-20 inches throughout the region with 27 inches in some areas.

How does that affect us? It does not, I will do another Update on us Friday, the Arizona Meteorologists are talking about the formation of the Monsoonal Ridge that is developing over us, unfortunately, at this time, there is no decent associated moisture for the high pressure to tap into. Any moisture we get should be light “recycled” moisture. A trough will be moving back in over the weekend and it is unclear as to what that will bring with it, hint, it will be interesting to see how the trough mixes with or responds to the tropical depression (leftover) in the plains.

 

 

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First US Landfalling Hurricane This Week?

If you are new to the site you may not know that I have followers in Texas and Florida and a couple years back I polled followers and they told me that they wanted to see Hurricane information, so in 2017 Harvey was the first Hurricane that we extensively followed.

Travelers headed anywhere on the Gulf of Mexico late next week are going to have to keep their eyes on possible tropical development. The Euro is showing development in the Gulf on Thursday, strengthening to a low-end Cat 2 before making landfall near the Alabama/Mississippi border. This far out, the actual path may vary, in fact, the GFS shows no development but I don’t trust the GFS whereas the Euro has been dead on nearly every tropical event for the last several years. It was the Euro that predicted the 40-60 inch rains when Hurricane Harvey stalled over the Houston area, the Euro predicted it nearly a week before it happened.

So here is Thursday, these are winds, you will the scale in the next couple of pictures.

Thursdayaft

Friday morning

frimorn

Saturday morning landfall

Satmorn

Saturday morning pressure and winds, the lower the pressure the stronger the hurricane.

satmorn2

Something to keep an eye on for sure!

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Weekend Update/Long Term Update

Just slightly higher chances of a couple of storms Saturday and Sunday as a piece of energy moves towards the Four Corners from Arizona (Nonsoon). Beyond that warm and dry conditions return with very slight chances of mostly high elevation based pop-up showers.  Here is the 15-day precip outlook for the South West US browns indicate how far below average the precipitation forecast is.

ecmwf-swus-qpf_anom_15day-3580800

The long term is equally concerning to me as it looks to me if that trend continues through the end of August we could reach a “D-0” drought level, which technically still is not in a drought but one step below.  More of the concern, of course, is a fire starting by a dry thunderstorm or human intervention.

46-Day Outlook

ecmwf-swus-qpf_anom_46day-6172800

This is another sign that the Arizona Monsoon will be delayed and likely be an underperforming season. The Eastern Pacific is finally seeing some tropical activity, hopefully, we will get one of those storms to recurve and dump some moisture on us like the remnants Hurricane Bud did last year!

On another note, I found this very interesting from the San Juan National Forest USDA webpage page these conditions are current as of Wednesday. It is crazy to see that 15 of 33 roads and passes in the San Juan NF are closed due to snow!

As of July 3, 2019
Most roads will probably open later than usual this year due to excessive snow and avalanches. We will try to keep up with changes on this site as soon as we hear reliable information.

Most of these roads could be impassable.

Check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website before traveling any of these roads. https://avalanche.state.co.us/

*Be aware that passes can vary with weather any time of year. Some may be slick in areas, washed out or snow covered, even if they are listed as OPEN. Please don’t go beyond where you are comfortable driving. Be safe out there!

Animas Forks – OPEN through Hurricane and California Gulch. LOTS of snow in California Gulch. Roads are narrow and muddy*
*The main road to Animas Forks is blocked by a large avalanche.

Black Bear Pass – Closed by snow
Bolam Pass – Open to Hermosa Creek crossing, Avalanche between Hotel Draw and Bolam Pass
California – OPEN
Clear Lake -OPEN to tree line (below lake)
Cinnamon Pass – Closed by snow
Corkscrew Pass – OPEN from Gladstone to pass
County Road 110 – OPEN
County Road 2 – OPEN approx. 1 mile past Eureka FLOODING is an issue, so currently down to single lane
Cunningham Gulch – OPEN to Pride of West Boarding House

Divide Road 564 – Closed by snow
Engineer Pass – Closed by snow*
Engineer Pass – Lower end to 550- Closed by snow
Eureka Gulch – OPEN to snow, could be hard to turn around
Hurricane Pass – OPEN from Gladstone to Pass
Imogene Pass – Closed by snow
Kennebec Pass – Closed by snow
La Plata Canyon (County Road 124) – OPEN to just past Lewis
Last Dollar – OPEN
Lobo Overlook – Closed by snow

Maggie Gulch – OPEN to snow, could be hard to turn around
Mineral Point – Closed by snow*
Minnehaha – Closed by snow
Minnie Gulch – OPEN to snow, could be hard to turn around
Ophir Pass – OPEN
Owl Creek Pass – Closed by snow

Picayune – Closed by snow*
Placer – Closed by snow*
Poughkeepsie – Closed by snow
Scotch Creek – Closed by snow
South Mineral Road – OPEN to campground
Stony Pass – OPEN, closed at Pole Creek crossing due to high waters
Treasure Mountain Loop – Closed by snow*
Yankee Boy Basin – OPEN

Should the situation change abruptly on way or another I will definitely post (I am not a fan of boring weather).

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Straight From The Horses Mouth

The other day I posted an update on the delayed onset of the Arizona Monsoon, one of the things I pointed out was that even if the GFS forecast I used was incorrect, it worked well to illustrate the difference between Monsoon and other weather-related events. I stand by that, it served its purpose as a tool, however, the forecast from the GFS has flopped back after a few days and now it shows a further delay in the start of the Monsoon season. Here is what NWS Phoenix had to say this morning.

” In fact, both the GFS and ECMWF keep very dry conditions over most
of the state well beyond the 7 day forecast period and out to 240
hours, suggesting the monsoon will take quite some time before it
really starts to get going. As such, POPs stay very low with only
very slight chances for a high based storm mainly east of Globe over
the weekend.”

ECMWF is the Euro model, POPs refers to precipitation chances.

Check out the below average (browns and reds) precipitation for the southwest over the next 15 days.

Euro15day

Here is a close-up version of that.

ecmwf-swus-qpf_anom_15day-3235200

If you like normal to slightly above normal temperatures with drier than normal conditions you have come to the right place.

 


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The Fine Line Between Monsoon And Nonsoon

Short Term

This evening, tomorrow and Monday are going to be the best chances for a few high heat based thunderstorms to pop up, in fact, most afternoons going forward especially the in higher elevations will have a chance at some storms, at times these will drift off the higher elevations into the valleys and plateaus below them.

For the first time this year, I am starting to see some definite signs of the Monsoonal activity getting going in Mexico, then Arizona and New Mexico later this week, however, it looks like it will be suppressed several times over the next two weeks, so while it is very likely you will hear about the Monsoon over the coming week, for us it will still be the Nonsoon. In other words, the rain we get will be directly related to other weather events, cold fronts, frontal boundaries, high heat based convective development, etc.

Using last night’s GFS run I can illustrate what this looks like to demonstrate where Monsoonal activity is occurring and where it isn’t. Keep in mind the GFS could be 100% completely wrong with its forecast, this time it is irrelevant. For the purposes of this discussion, I want to show you what is and what isn’t Monsoonal.

Starting with late afternoon today, none of this activity is Monsoonal.

 

629

Sunday late afternoon (every map going forward is late afternoon/early evening), again no Monsoon

630

Monday, July 1st everything I circled in blue is Monsoon, everything in red is not the Monsoon=Nonsoon

Mon71

Let’s jump ahead to July 4th, you can see the Monsoonal activity (in blue) building north

74

Let’s jump further ahead to Sunday, July 7th a fine line when you have to distinguish the source of the moisture and convection. What is in red is due to low pressure over the midwest drawing in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it does every summer (which is why the humidity is so oppressive in the Midwest).

sun77

Monday, July 8th the battle continues as the Monsoon gets suppressed.

mon78

Wednesday, July 10th suppression continues as the old frontal boundary sags south

wed710

Thursday, July 11th the Monsoon roars back as the boundary layer has passed to the southeast

th711

 

Jumping ahead to Saturday July 13th, as you can see below a fairly deep area of low pressure generates upslope flow and showers from Wyoming through the front range and down to New Mexico, if the source of that cold air (shown here in North Dakota) were over Durango it would snow down to 8,000 feet! That is not going to happen, don’t worry.

sat713

Sunday, July 14th the surface front digs in further SW suppressing the Monsoonal flow once again. You can see heavy thunderstorms being generated over the San Juans due to a retrograding area of low pressure and cold front, not from the Monsoon.

sun714

As I said this whole forecast run of this model could be wrong, but my goal was to show you the difference between the sources of the rain, not all summer rain is the Monsoon, not all snow is a storm(sometimes it just snows), not all wind is a tornado. Going forward hopefully you understand when I refer to any given event as Monsoonal versus Nonsoonal.

 

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A Mixed Bag

There are some interesting scenarios in the morning high-resolution models, as I cautioned yesterday this is the type of storm that usually results in a near miss to the north of us, and cooler weather would be the biggest result of the storm.

The elephant in the room, ie, what I can’t get past on the short term model is a couple of significant thunderstorms tracking from SW to NE on a line that extends roughly from Shiprock to Durango to Vallecito that will track to the east, late this morning /early afternoon. What is interesting is the model shows significant short-lived rain near the airport resulting in a huge temperature drop, then the temps rebound, the sun comes out which churns up a few more storms in our area this afternoon. I am a bit suspicious of the first scenario for late morning, but I can’t write it off either. If it goes down it would likely be in the 10 am to 1 pm timeframe. The later afternoon activity seems more plausible, but only if the sun comes out.

It will be easier for me to do short updates on Facebook, but if something significant develops I will update the website as well.

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Summer Snow And Quick Peek at Winter 2020

This Weekend

I am going to cut to the chase rather than make you wait. This weekend, actually beginning this evening, a very very slow moving front will move through the area, mostly to our north. The tail end of it should come through SW Colorado and the best thing I can compare it to is one of those NW flow storms in the early Winter that just misses us to the north. The Central and Northern mountains do well with these.

It is likely that the storm’s timing will result in a small amount of snow falling down to 10,000 feet on Saturday and if there is any moisture left on Sunday morning the snow level could approach 9,000 feet, that is a big if.

Here is what the Euro shows for snow this weekend. Check out the amounts in the Northern and Central mountains. ecmwf_tsnow_colorado_13

The main effects in other areas (lower elevations) will be slightly cooler weather and a chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon, especially south of Hermosa, but it appears the heaviest storms will fire near and south of the New Mexico border. I will follow up on this Saturday morning with another post after the morning high-resolution models come out.

The Next 6 Weeks

For those of you hoping for summer in the high country, the long term trend is not very encouraging.  Here is the 46-day temperature forecast.

46dayconustemps

So in other words 2-5 degree (f) below normal over the course of the 46 day period.

The more disturbing outlook is the 46-day precipitation anomaly which shows below average precipitation.

precip anomaly46

There is a ray of hope, if you break it down to 7 day periods, after about 30 days it shows precipitation tracking back to normal.  So the Az monsoon will continue to be delayed.  Here is a gif showing the dewpoint for the next 10 days, keep in mind that the Arizona monsoon is declared “official” when the dewpoint in Tucson reaches 55 degrees for 3 days in a row.

GFS 50-STATES USA Southwest US 2-m Dew Point.gif

So for the next month or so we will likely continue to see red flag warnings for our area. Even after the wet Winter, drier than normal conditions for most of July could lead to huge fire concerns. Our fire zone is 207 btw, sometimes the forecasts are done in zones instead of towns.

Next Winter

The question is will this be the last snow before September? The average first snow at 10,500 feet is usually late September. Keep in mind that there are only 163 days left until meteorological Winter starts! I am already tracking early indicators. Here is the model spread showing a good chance of another a weak to moderate El Nino (similar to last year).

figure4

The green line is mean.

The most reliable long term indicator I can look at now, 6 months out, is the JMA (Japanese model). It shows above average temps in the fall followed by below average temperatures for much of the nation next winter.

Fall jmaSON

This is difficult to see but you see the red indicates above average temps for September-November. Check out the flip for December-February. Our area is right on the cusp of some very cold air, it could go either way, but right now it favors slightly below normal temps.

temp2.glob.DJF2020.1jun2019

And here is the precipitation anomaly showing above-average precipitation.

djfprecip

How does this translate to snow? Calculating this out, assuming it is correct, would lead to between 3 1/2 to 10 inches of snow above average per month for December through February! These are the types of things I am following at the moment

Tune back in tomorrow I will update around 10 am.

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River Update Summer Update Part 2

10 am

The best chances for rain will be tomorrow afternoon and Monday. According to the Euro we will mostly see nuisance rains, they won’t add up to much and will just make the dust wet, however, the GFS is more enthusiastic about the rain totals. The only problem is the GFS is not the old GFS, for the last 18 months or so they were testing the new GFS FV 3, they integrated the new version earlier this week, so the new GFS is now the only GFS and although it was in test mode and I have had access to it, it was largely only on a national scale, I have not had the opportunity to use it for us at the local level, so I have no idea how accurate it is. I am happy that they did this in the summer rather than the winter.

So here is what the Euro has for rain between Saturday and Monday night

Screenshot 2019-06-14 at 10.48.55 AM

And here is what the (new) GFS shows

gfsrain

This is quite a difference, if this model is accurate with most of it falling tomorrow it may impact rivers in some areas. We have been so fortunate to have this dry weather during the runoff, hopefully, that will continue.

Speaking of rivers…

Here is a snapshot of Southwest Colorado

Screenshot 2019-06-14 at 10.23.05 AM

Here is what is left of the snowpack

Screenshot 2019-06-14 at 11.53.44 AM

Screenshot 2019-06-14 at 11.54.22 AM

Most sites no longer display percentages but looking at the raw data is interesting, it looks like Vallecito should finish up any day now. However, the Columbus Basin in the La Platas is still showing a normal season of snowpack yet to go, Wolf Creek, Spud Mountain, Red Mountain Pass and a couple of others still have very impressive totals yet to runoff.

All of these graphs are pretty self-explanatory

Animas

animas

Pine- btw can you believe the Pine’s record was higher than the record set by the Animas in 1911? The Pine reached 12.2′ in 1957.

pine

La Plata

laplata

Mancos

mancos

San Juan

sanjuan

Dolores

dolores

I think most of the advisories affecting the Dolores are near Rico.

The Euro weeklies were updated last night and show more of the same, temperatures slowly moving into the seasonal normal levels especially as we get into July.

14-km EPS 46-DAYS United States 5-d Avg T2M Anom [C].gif

Here is what it shows for precip over the next 46 days.

euro46precip

Two things on this map jump right out at me. The red in Mexico up to the Arizona and New Mexico border, and the red in the Carribean. These are totals below average so you have to compare this with what usually happens this time of year, Monsoon and Hurricane season, so it appears that we will have below normal tropical activity for the Pacific and Atlantic near the US and the Monsoon season will be slow to get going.  This is a long way out meteorologically, but I would say that it will be after July 15th for southern Arizona and the end of July before things bump up here.

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River Update Summer Update

We have been so fortunate the way things have played out from the drought killing winter to the cool spring limiting the snow melt.  Speaking of cool springs check this picture off the webcam at Yellowstone this morning.

snow68

The tail end of cold front responsible for this is headed this way, but there will only be very minor impacts in the form of slightly below average lows temps. Monday we could see some more pop up showers returning and later in the week as well. This time of year the short term and intermediate models really struggle, which is why you don’t see too many forecasts this time of year from me.

Rivers Update

So most of the rivers in the area will be at just below flood stage and will naturally peak over the next 24-72 hours.  I always get questions about the historic 1911 flood this time of year. There is a huge difference between now and then, that flood occurred in October when the remnants of a tropical storm set up over the San Juans. So there is absolutely no way to compare the two. Interestingly enough the 1910-1911 Winter was average for snowfall with 67″ downtown, although 57 of the 67 inches all fell in February.

These forecasts vary daily and if we get a couple spots with heavy showers in the next couple of days it will obviously affect the flow.

Here is the Animas

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 12.00.24 PM

Once again here is the explanatory text for what 7 feet etc mean.

Flood Impacts

16.5
Water reaches the bottom of the East 32nd Street Bridge. Devastating flooding is occurring through Durango with many buildings near the highway 160 bridge and between the Animas River and Hwy 550 south of 15th street flooded.
13
Floodwaters are approaching the bases of several bridges in Durango including the West 9th Street Bridge the US 550 bridge and the Animas River Trail pedestrian bridges. Debris dams and backwater flooding is possible making these bridges unsafe.
12.5
Large portions of the Animas River Trail and adjacent buildings and parking lots along the Animas River between the Hwy 160 bridge and the Hwy 550 bridge are flooded.
12
Portions of the Animas River Trail are flooded with adjacent businesses and residences threatened. Major flooding is occurring north of Durango in Trimble and Hermosa. Major Flooding is occurring at the Durango Trout Hatchery.
11
The area surrounding the Durango Fish Hatchery is flooding. Water is nearing the base of the Rio Grande Western Railroad Bridge adjacent to 15th Street.
10
Major flooding is occurring in the Val-Air Glider field and hangars.
9.69
The Dalton Ranch Golf Club is beginning to flood. Some dikes topped north of Durango.
9
Significant overbank flow is occurring in Durango.
8.5
Flooding of the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad between Tacoma and Needleton is occurring.
8
Minor flooding of agricultural lands and residential structures north of Durango is occurring. Water is nearing sections of the Rio Grande Western Railroad north of Durango.
7
Agricultural lands north of Durango are experiencing minor flooding. Portions of the Val-Air Gliderport field are flooded.
6
Lowland flooding is likely in the vicinity of Timble and Hermosa.
5.5
White water rafting on the Animas River above Durango becomes hazardous.

 

I don’t have the impacts for the other rivers but I do have the forecasts

La Plata

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 12.06.07 PM

Mancos

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 12.07.08 PM

Dolores seems to have peaked

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 12.08.13 PM

San Juan at Pagosa

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 12.09.44 PM

To illustrate how much a persistent stalled storm can impact river flow, this happened in Texas a couple of days ago.

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 1.32.22 PM

 

Summer Update

Meteorological Summer started 7 days ago and in most areas, it is playing the part pretty well. The rest of June looks to be near normal to slightly below normal temperatures and believe it or not below normal precipitation, this is according to the new Euro 46 day run, it would surprise me if that happens, but if we are below normal for precip in June remember June is the driest month of the year for us. As we slide into July at the moment, it looks like we will transition to slightly above normal temperatures.

I also get asked a lot about Monsoon Season. All I can say about it, for now, is Monsoon=Not Soon. I expect a late start or a “Nonsoon” this year.

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Better Explanation of Animas Impact Potential

11 am

As I mentioned there is a chance for some rain over the next couple of days. We can talk all about “cfs” and “bank full” and flood potential but I did some digging and found out what it all means, the what that affects whom. The actual gage is just near the Powerhouse. This graph has flood stage on the left and cfs on the right. An explanation is below the graph that gives you very good examples of who would be affected and at what stage.

Example “6 Lowland flooding is likely in the vicinity of Timble and Hermosa.”

 

drgc2_hg

16.5
Water reaches the bottom of the East 32nd Street Bridge. Devastating flooding is occurring through Durango with many buildings near the highway 160 bridge and between the Animas River and Hwy 550 south of 15th street flooded.
13
Floodwaters are approaching the bases of several bridges in Durango including the West 9th Street Bridge the US 550 bridge and the Animas River Trail pedestrian bridges. Debris dams and backwater flooding is possible making these bridges unsafe.
12.5
Large portions of the Animas River Trail and adjacent buildings and parking lots along the Animas River between the Hwy 160 bridge and the Hwy 550 bridge are flooded.
12
Portions of the Animas River Trail are flooded with adjacent businesses and residences threatened. Major flooding is occurring north of Durango in Trimble and Hermosa. Major Flooding is occurring at the Durango Trout Hatchery.
11
The area surrounding the Durango Fish Hatchery is flooding. Water is nearing the base of the Rio Grande Western Railroad Bridge adjacent to 15th Street.
10
Major flooding is occurring in the Val-Air Glider field and hangars.
9.69
The Dalton Ranch Golf Club is beginning to flood. Some dikes topped north of Durango.
9
Significant overbank flow is occurring in Durango.
8.5
Flooding of the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad between Tacoma and Needleton is occurring.
8
Minor flooding of agricultural lands and residential structures north of Durango is occurring. Water is nearing sections of the Rio Grande Western Railroad north of Durango.
7
Agricultural lands north of Durango are experiencing minor flooding. Portions of the Val-Air Gliderport field are flooded.
6
Lowland flooding is likely in the vicinity of Timble and Hermosa.
5.5
White water rafting on the Animas River above Durango becomes hazardous.

I am closely watching the models for the rain forecast, stay tuned.

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