Pattern Change On The Way

9/29/22 Thursday 7:45 am
Expect isolated showers to develop again today over the higher terrain, showers may become more scattered in nature on Friday.
There is a lot for me to keep an eye on coming up. It appears that we are going to flip into a cooler wetter pattern beginning in the northern portions of the forecast area on Friday afternoon. Areas south will likely have to wait until the weekend.
I am not quite ready to go into the details as the models have not yet converged on a solution for snow levels. The Euro is quite aggressive. It is already showing accumulating snow for the higher elevations, with snow levels possibly dipping below 10,000 feet. We’ll see. The best chance of that happening appears to be Saturday night. Again, I am not quite ready to jump all in on this idea, but it is something I am tracking, and something people should be aware of if they have outside plans in the mountains this weekend. The most impressive totals, according to the model, would fall in the La Platas.
This could lead to some pretty dramatic snow and fall color opportunities for photography lovers. We went to Silverton yesterday, and along the drive saw near peak, to peak colors from Coal Bank north. It looks like Purgatory, depending on the upcoming weather could peak this weekend or early next week.
Here is a glimpse of what I saw
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Wednesday Morning Hurricane Update

9/28/22 Wednesday 5 am MDT
The European model continues to be the best and most reliable model when it comes to Hurricane tracking and forecasting. The other weather models are always trying to play catch up with it. The track for the most devastating weather is just south of Venice to Bradenton extending northeast all of the way to the Plant City/Lakeland area. Unfortunately, a number of people who thought they were evacuating to a safer area inland have put themselves in a worse situation in some of the inland areas.
There are still discrepancies between the wind spread and precipitation amounts between the European and the higher resolution models. The higher resolution models still show higher precipitation totals extending further north into Tampa Bay. I do not expect any changes in the track of the storm.
Here are the peak wind gusts and precipitation forecasts depicted by the European model.
Wind
Detailed View
Rain
Detailed View
Here are peak wind gusts and rain forecasts from the high-resolution NAM model
Detailed View
Rain
Detailed View
It is interesting to see that the high-resolution model extends the heavy rain totals all of the way to the Atlantic Coast with Orlando and Daytona in its path.
It is looking like this storm will briefly spend time over the Atlantic Coast and hit the Georgia-South Carolina Coastlines as a Tropical Storm.
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Hurricane Update

9/27/22 Tuesday 4 pm mt
There is still a lot of uncertainty on where the worst winds and rain will occur with Hurricane Ian. The European model has shifted the worst condition south to the Sarasota area.
Most recent European storm track
Here are the peak wind gusts with that track
That 128 mph peak gust is at Venice.
Here are the rain storm totals associated with that track
Again, that is Venice with a 25.11 inch rainfall total forecast
Contrast that with the American models which still prefer a scenario for a wider spread Windfield extending to the Greater Tampa/St Pete area.
Here is the track from the NAM 3km high-resolution model
Here are the peak wind gusts associated with that track
This is a scary scenario with peak wind gusts of 120 to 125 mph from Venice to St Pete with 130-135 mph gusts from Anna Maria to St Pete Beach.
Here is the rainfall associated with that track
That 30.87 inch total is at St Pete/Clearwater Airport south of the Causeway off of the Bayside Bridge.
Historically, the European model has been much more accurate in storm track and precipitation, especially with Hurricanes. I will be posting an early update on Wednesday morning.
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Extended Outlook Delayed

9/27/22 Tuesday 11:20 am
I was checking out the latest Euro Extended model run that comes out twice per week. It was showing a large negative precipitation anomaly for October. I then looked at the total precipitation forecast for October. It became apparent something was off. The forecast total is 1.52 inches for Durango (I use Durango because there is more historical data for Durango than other locations in the forecast area). It shows a negative anomaly of .72 inches. That is impossible. The 30-year average for October is 2.02 inches. The long-term average for October 1894-1991 is 1.86. BTW most people are under the impression that the 30-year average is drier than the long-term average, not true. I use the long-term average because it is the drier data set.
Applying the forecast to the average October rainfall, you get a negative anomaly of 0.34. Using the wetter 30-year average of 2.02 you get a negative anomaly 0.50. It may not sound like a lot but it is an error of 111% (long term) or 44% (short term) depending on which average you use. I am going to let that model rest up this week and we will see if this is going to be an ongoing issue or if it was a poor initialization.
My Hurricane update will be out around 2 pm.
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Tuesday Early Update

9/27/22 Tuesday 6:20 am
Moisture will be increasing and isolated to scattered showers will be possible each afternoon. The focus for the most active weather will be over the higher terrain. Moisture will further increase from Friday through Sunday. Snow levels should hover around 12,000 feet through Thursday. There is a chance of lowering snow levels for the weekend with a deeper push of moisture. Some models are suggesting snow levels at or slightly below 10,000 feet.  The morning (12z) run of the Euro yesterday showed this.
The overnight run backed off a bit and showed this.
I am hoping for a little more consistency over the next couple of days as I plan to be wherever it is snowing this weekend.
Later this morning I will post an extended outlook. Then I will do an afternoon update on hurricane Ian between 1-2 pm. Landfall will be early Wednesday as a major hurricane.  As of this morning, the biggest threats will be from Sarasota to New Port Richey. If I had to narrow that down, I am especially concerned with Siesta Key, St Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa Bay. If Tampa is spared the strongest winds I am worried about the storm surge and heavy 12-20+ inch rainfall. I cannot yet rule out a direct hit on Clearwater, St Pete, and Tampa.
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Precipitation Chances Increase Throughout The Week

9/25/22 Sunday 5:45 am
There is not a lot to talk about right now. We are under a dome of high pressure which should begin to move and allow a little more moisture into the area each day. The result will be hit-and-miss afternoon convection which will favor the higher terrain. Some of the models are hinting at a more active pattern beginning Wednesday or Thursday, it is still too early to tell.
Nationally, I am watching the trough in the east and its potential effects on what will become Hurricane Ian. A couple of models show a track that would lead to some activity along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Florida followers or anyone traveling to the Gulf Coast of Florida early this week should stay tuned.
Back to SW Colorado, the other thing jumping off the forecast maps at me is a better chance of light snow showers this week around or above the 12,000-foot level. Yesterday I drove the new DWG mobile command unit up La Plata Canyon and saw some decent color (finally) around the 11,000-foot level. Another night of strong radiational cooling overnight has resulted in temperatures in the 30s in some of the mid-elevation areas to mid to upper 20s in some higher elevation locations this morning.  Leaves should really get going in the higher elevations by mid-week.
I am still not ready to talk about winter yet, that is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. There are forecasters like myself who subscribe to the idea that there is a correlation between a tropically active October and winter. ENSO (La Nina and El Nino) does have an impact on our winter, but not as much in our forecast area as people think. I see a lot of La Nina-based cookie-cutter winter forecasts floating around out there right now, and I am not necessarily following in those footsteps.
Depending on what I see in the models over the next 24 hours I may or may not post an update on Monday. On Tuesday I will do an extended outlook.
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Storm Totals

9/23/22 Friday 8:45 am
While we did not get the ambitious totals that the models were predicting, overall it is tough to complain about them, especially taking into consideration how much rain we have gotten over the last 4 months.
Here are some two-day storm totals.
Telluride Deep Creek 1.07
Rico 1.00
Silverton 0.91
Vallecito 1.29
Pagosa 1.56
Deer Valley Estates 2.08
Cortez 1.00
Mancos 1.27
Elk Stream Ranch 1.54
Lake Durango 1.36
Upper Durango Hills 1.57
Downtown Durango 1.2-1.5
Skyridge 1.5
Lightner Creek 1.6
Trappers Crossing 1.36
Lower Forest Lakes 1.34
Glacier Club 1.8
Bondad 1.86
Ignacio 2.03
Sundance Hills 2.7
Hesperus 1.5
Things are going to dry out a bit. I am going to take tomorrow off. I will try to get an update out on Sunday.
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Woohoo!

9/22/22 Thursday 8:45 am
Heavy showers will continue this morning before drier air starts moving in this afternoon. Oftentimes, the models are too quick to end the precipitation, just as they were too quick to start the precipitation with this event. Either way, widespread amounts in the 1 to 2+ inch range have already fallen throughout the forecast area. We will check out the totals tomorrow morning so continue to hold off reporting until tomorrow morning.
It looks like a dry weekend will be on tap for us, with just isolated showers in the higher terrain possible. I mentioned yesterday that I expect more rain next week, I will talk about that more over the weekend.
My next update will be mid-morning on Friday. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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Wednesday Afternoon Update

9/21/22 Wednesday 3:30 pm
I know we are all thinking that we somehow got missed. I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet. If you have followed me through at least one winter, you know that in a two or more day precipitation event I don’t give up early. The models are still in agreement that a heavy rain event is coming with most totals in the 1 to 3-inch range by early Friday morning. The NWS seems to be doubling down on this in their forecast and Flood Watch. If things don’t pick up before I go to bed I know I will be looking outside several times before the sun comes up.
I am not going to show every model but here are the very latest NOAA blended models showing the precipitation forecast totals beginning at noon today and ending Friday morning. If these latest model runs bust a lot of forecasters are going to questioning future model runs.
NOAA NBM
NOAA WPC
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Wednesday Morning Update–A Late Start

9/21/22 Wednesday 8:00 am
One mistake I have made in the past is jumping ship too early before a prolonged precipitation event. Every indication is that heavy precipitation is still on the way. Yes, I looked out the window about 10 times overnight and yes, I woke up a bit worried. Then I read the forecast discussion and looked at the overnight model runs. After checking all of that out, aside from the delay, everything still looks good. I will check back in after the morning model runs come out. Please hold off on reporting any totals until Friday morning.
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