Thanksgiving Day Update

A small disturbance in the form of a weak closed circulation area of low pressure will form over North Central Arizona late tonight. That is usually a good thing, but this system is moisture-starved and it is not very strong.

The system will work its way across Arizona overnight and approach New Mexico early tomorrow morning. The models are split with the Euro being the furthest south which results in mostly a miss for the area. The other models track the system a little closer to the Colorado border and bring mostly light but varying amounts of snow into the forecast area. Snow levels should start around 6,000 feet and slowly rise to 6,500 feet by late Friday morning.

The closer the system tracks to the Colorado border the greater chances of some light accumulating snow.

Historically these types of weak systems bring a little snow to areas to our south like Breen, Long Hollow, Shenandoah, Trappers Crossing, and Ignacio.  They also create a bit of upslope flow into Wolf Creek and Pagosa.

As I said, this will not be a big system but it may create some nuisance travel impacts for all of Northern New Mexico and potentially southern La Plata and Archuleta Counties.

Here is the Euro. The Euro is the outlier right now we will see if adjust overnight.

Here is the GFS. The GFS is slightly further north than the Euro.

I like what the next 3 models are doing here because I have seen similar results in the past with this type of weak system.

The German ICON model

The Canadian model

Here is the High-Resolution North American Model (NAM 3km). It has the furthest north track with the system.

If all goes well most areas could get a dusting to a couple to a few inches of snow.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving day! I am thankful to be able to share my love of weather with everyone and grateful to live where we do. Thank you for following.

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Northwest Flow Won That Round

As the front approached our area it flattened out resulting in northwest and northerly flow. The Euro model did a horrible job trying to sort things out. As inconsistent as the GFS model was, yesterday’s morning run that I largely ignored was the most accurate. I had noticed in previous GFS runs that it was showing a longer period of northwest flow than the Euro, but it still largely missed on precipitation totals at Purgatory and Wolf Creek.

You can see how “flat” the front was as it went through our area around 2 am.

Wolf Creek’s 12-inch storm total ended up 6-12 inches short of what I was seeing in the models. Telluride did well with 10 inches so far. Purgatory’s 3 inch 2 day total was very disappointing. The upshot is that we will have a few decent days for snowmaking.

The models have been hinting at another system trying to come through Thursday night into Friday. The Euro is favoring a stronger system, the GFS shows almost nothing. Rather than jump back on the Euro I am going to give the models another 48 hours to sort things out. There is a potential for that system on Friday to develop to our south across New Mexico which may impact some travel. Hopefully, on Thursday I will be able to have better guidance on that.

My next post will be on Thursday. Thanks as always for following–we just surpassed 11,000 Facebook followers! If you are new the best way to contact me is with the blue link at the bottom of the page.

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Monday Update

As expected, very light precipitation has fallen and or is falling in most areas. Of course, Wolf Creek was able to accumulate 7 inches of snow already by 6:30 am. The snow will pick back up in intensity later this afternoon at Wolf Creek.

The heaviest precipitation in all areas will fall between 8 pm this evening and 8 am tomorrow morning.

So far, of all the models the Euro seems to be verifying the best. It had very low totals through this afternoon with around 6-8 inches of snow at Wolf Creek by 8 am this morning.

Here is the best depiction I have seen so far as to where the main energy of the storm is.

You can see the cold front, and the trough and low pressure are dropping southeast through Utah, basically cutting the state in half from southwest to northeast.

There is very little midday commentary from our NWS office on any given day. However, the NWS in Flagstaff, Az recently commented that they felt the system was coming in stronger than expected. We will see.

Here is what the Euro has for additional precipitation for us.

Euro liquid

Snow ratios tonight should rise to 12-1 for Purgatory and Telluride and a little higher at Wolf Creek. Rain should change over to snow in the mid-elevations after 11 pm. In the lower elevations at or above 6,500 feet, the changeover should occur after 2 am. I expect little if any accumulation of snow in the lower elevations.

Depending on the conditions outside when I wake up tomorrow I may or may not post. If I don’t post early I will before 9 am to talk about how the storm should wrap up and depart the area.

Thanks for following and supporting the site. The next post will be on Monday.

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Stormy Monday And Tuesday

Light rain and snow should begin late tonight. By tomorrow morning light precipitation should be falling everywhere and the snow should be picking up in intensity at Wolf Creek. Travel towards Denver should be mostly unaffected after crossing Wolf Creek.

Travel to the north tomorrow will be normal winter driving conditions with light to moderate snow above 9,500 feet. This will change by late afternoon and evening. The heaviest precipitation for the entire event will happen between 8 pm Monday night and 8 am Tuesday. Travel will be very difficult across the passes at that time.

This storm has an SW flow component that will become NW flow with the passage of the cold front Tuesday. This means Purgatory and Wolf Creek and Silverton will have more snow on the front end of this system (until very early Tuesday morning). Telluride and Red Mountain’s snow will be determined by how deep the SW flow is. When NW flow kicks in very early Tuesday, Telluride and Red Mountain will get a boost of heavier high ratio snow that will accumulate quickly.

I like what the NWS has in their Winter Storm Warning with 8-16 inches. It will probably be closer to 7-11 inches for Purgatory. Telluride will be similar, but more will fall after midnight Tuesday morning. Wolf Creek should end up with 18-24 inches.

I am confident that the lower and middle elevations will have snow, I am not at all confident about the amounts yet.

Here are the most recent GFS and Euro model runs. They were the most similar of the models I looked at. It is important to note that both the German model and the Canadian model show considerably more precipitation for the lower elevations. The Canadian also shows significantly more precipitation for the mountains.

GFS liquid

GFS snow

Euro liquid

Euro snow

The biggest difference between the two models right now is that the GFS is showing stronger NW flow as the storm exits our region.

The next post will be Monday unless the NWS tweaks their current Winter Storm Warnings this afternoon. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Winter Storm Warnings Beginning At 6 pm

A couple of Winter Storm Warnings right out of the chute this morning. The 550 passes and areas above 9,500 feet. Another for Wolf Creek Pass and surrounding areas above 9,500 feet.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
315 AM MST SUN NOV 22 2020

COZ019-221815-
/O.NEW.KGJT.WS.W.0012.201123T0100Z-201124T1800Z/
SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF SILVERTON AND RICO
315 AM MST SUN NOV 22 2020

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 11 AM ST TUESDAY ABOVE 9500 FEET…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED ABOVE 9500 FEET. TOTAL SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 16 INCHES WITH UP TO 20 INCHES ON FAVORED SOUTHWEST FACES. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 40 MPH.

* WHERE…SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.

* WHEN…FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 11 AM MST TUESDAY.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE AT TIMES. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
405 AM MST SUN NOV 22 2020

COZ068-221915-
/O.NEW.KPUB.WS.W.0010.201123T0000Z-201124T1800Z/
EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS ABOVE 10000 FEET- (Wolf Creek Pass) 405 AM MST SUN NOV 22 2020

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 11 AM MST TUESDAY…

* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 18 INCHES, WITH LOCALLY HEAVIER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 45 MPH.

* WHERE…EASTERN SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS ABOVE 10000 FEET.

* WHEN…FROM 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 11 AM MST TUESDAY.

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

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD, AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

I like the call on the first one. I am not so sure about the Wolf Creek Pass issuance. I think 8-16″ is too low and I would be surprised if they don’t change it that before the afternoon forecast package comes out. 3 of the 4 models I usually look at are showing close to 3 inches of liquid equivalent for Wolf Creek. The 4th is the German model and it is even showing close to 2 inches of liquid there.

If we have another set of robust model runs over the next few hours I think they will increase the Wolf Creek total.

The next post on this potentially long-duration event will be around noon today. I will answer all of your new questions at that time so contact me before then. Thanks for following and supporting the page.

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Pre-Thanksgiving and Post-Thanksgiving Storms

As advertised, the weak system came through last night and early this morning and was a very low impact event. Wolf Creek was able to squeeze out 3 inches of snow while most areas had a few hundredths of an inch of liquid.

We now set our sites on what should be a more potent storm coming in late Sunday through Tuesday.

Here is where the energy for the storm is at the moment, circled in red.

That energy is going to slip down the coast and make the trek into our region, with the first waves reaching us around midnight Monday morning.

The models have been trending up with the precipitation.

Snow levels during the day on Monday for the most part will remain at or above 8,500 feet but may lower during heavier periods of precipitation.  Snow levels could start to drop to the rest of the mid-elevation areas by 8 pm or so Monday night. They should drop to the lowest elevations between 2 am and 5 am Tuesday morning.

Here are the latest model runs for snow and liquid precipitation.

GFS liquid

GFS snow

German liquid

Canadian liquid

Canadian snow

Euro liquid

Euro snow

The Euro, Canadian and German models offer similar solutions. The GFS is favoring a slightly further north approach with the storm. This is a normal bias for this model, it never gives the storm time to deepen and dig in.

In the title, I mentioned a “Post-Thanksgiving” storm. The models are trying to bring another storm in Friday through late Saturday night.

The difference is in the details. The GFS is showing split flow with a piece of the storm breaking away to our north with a small piece digging into the southwest and producing a low impact event over our area. The Euro is showing most of the energy going into the southwest, resulting in a moderate to high impact storm for Friday and Saturday.

Hopefully, we will end November similarly to how we started it, with major precipitation.

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

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The Models Pivot To First Of The Week

The models are forecasting a very low impact precipitation event for tomorrow (Saturday). Across the forecast area, I would expect 0 to 3 inches of snow in the higher elevations. For the liquid type, 0 to a couple of tenths of beneficial moisture. The models have varied in output over the last several model runs but I have not seen anything too impactful that would affect travel anywhere.

Monday is an entirely different story as another system will come in carrying more moisture. Cooler air will already be in place and better storm dynamics could be in the works for very late Sunday night through Tuesday.

So, whereas earlier in the week Monday looked like a good travel day it no longer does, in any direction. I have not had a chance yet to respond to the emails I got late Wednesday and throughout the day yesterday but I will when I finish this post.

Here are the SECOND storm totals through late Tuesday.

GFS liquid

GFS snow

Euro liquid

Euro snow

I left the Canadian off for now but it has quite a bit more snow than the other two models. We will see where it ends up. Next Update Saturday.

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Clarification On Earlier Comments

This morning I did a poor job communicating my feelings regarding there being “no great car deals here”. That was not meant to be a swipe at local car dealers at all. I was frustrated because I was mostly looking at for sale by owner vehicles. With the uncertain times, I did not want to finance a vehicle and I had a limited budget because I did not want to come out of pocket too deeply to supplement my insurance payout. I have purchased 2 vehicles in the past from 2 major dealers in town. I have had nothing but excellent experiences for the life of those vehicles. I  used the same dealers for regular maintenance, the dedication and service were top-notch.

I would never use my platform to speak out against a local business. I think I have proved I am a local business supporter in every way I can be.

Re-reading my post I understand that my choice of words was poor. I apologize to all of the hardworking dealers in Durango. I am also well aware of how much all of these fine folks support the local community. Most do it quietly and I think that most people here would be surprised at everything they do for Durango.

 

The Weather Guy Is Going On A Road Trip.

I apologize for not posting yesterday, I was swamped and did not get a chance. If you remember about a month ago I mentioned I hit a deer with my car. It was a 3-week wait to get my vehicle into the body shop. Within a week I was notified that the insurance company decided that my car was a “total loss”. I did not want to buy a new car. Being in Durango, there are no great car deals here. I went online and found a vehicle, in Dallas. This was my first online vehicle purchase. What I didn’t realize when I bought it is how difficult it is to find a transport to deliver the vehicle to Durango right now, apparently there is a pandemic or something… Anyway, to make a long story short, I am flying to Dallas tomorrow morning to pick up the vehicle and drive it back. I will be back very early on Friday and will be able to post before the weekend.

Unfortunately, there may not be too much to talk about. The Euro model has removed all chances of precipitation for the weekend. The GFS and Canadian have trended down significantly with their precipitation forecasts.

Canadian

GFS

As you know model disagreement and uncertainty this close to a potential precipitation event is not encouraging. Interestingly enough all 3 models show the potential for a light precipitation event now on Monday. The Canadian and Euro show another wave around Thanksgiving. The GFS shows nothing after Monday.

That is all I have for now. I will update again on Friday. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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A Brief Warm Up–Then More Storms

The ridge of high pressure that dominated our weather earlier this fall is going to make a comeback. Temps will warm back up into the 50s and 60s for the mid and lower elevations with 40s and 50s in most mountain locations. Overnight temperatures will hover around to just below freezing.

The models are trying to come to a better agreement on what happens later this week and the weekend. On Tuesday a system will slam into the west coast and start to move east by Thursday. Depending on how quickly pieces of the system break off from the main trough and arrive in our region, light precipitation could break out over our area. A stronger wave may arrive for the weekend.

The GFS is the most bullish with these systems and it is showing the highest precipitation totals. The Euro is starting to come around but is showing most of the precipitation falling Friday and Saturday. The Canadian model is advertising a very low impact high altitude precipitation event. All of the models show the system exiting the state by Monday.

Next week the Euro is showing a more impactful system going into Thanksgiving. The GFS does not show this at all. Although it is likely there are going to be fewer folks traveling this season, I know there will be a few. I will be focusing on travel across the state between now and then. Contact me if you have early travel plans (leaving this weekend). I will make a list of where people are headed and I will tailor my posts towards those areas.

Since we’re a week or longer away from that potential second system affecting the area, I am going to focus on the weekend for the next few days.

GFS

Canadian

Euro

It is a little early to look at snow levels but with Purgatory opening on the 21st I know many of you are wondering what to expect. At the moment it looks like snow levels will start pretty high on Friday around 9,500 feet and drop to around 8,000 by Saturday morning.

Next Update Tuesday afternoon. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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