Same Story Different Storm

Tonight’s low temps should be warmer than they were this morning, however, Sunday’s high temps will be significantly colder. Most areas will struggle to reach 50 degrees in the lower elevations mid-40s or cooler for mid-elevations and ’30s above 8,500 feet.  Same near miss on the precip with the heaviest snow (in our region) likely around Ouray.

Around here as I said, warmer overnight with an increase in clouds, then clearing skies by late morning and cool in the afternoon.

You may remember me seeing saying that I don’t believe this will be our last shot of true accumulating snow this month. The last couple of days the models runs have been showing a potent trough dropping in much further west affecting areas around Flagstaff then moving into our area. The timing would be between the 28th-31st. Here is a snapshot of what that looks like for the Euro and the GFS.

Here is the GFS


Here is the Euro


Both models are showing accumulating snow down to 6,500 feet. Given the length of time here (10 days out) the agreement between models is very encouraging.

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Unsettled Weather Friday

The first wave coming from the parent storm system will come in overnight and Friday morning. The operational models are trending a little further south with the snow. Very light accumulations may occur by midday Friday mainly above 8,500. Flurries are not out of the question above 7,400 feet. This storm is much warmer than the system that will come in on Sunday. On Sunday however, the models are still keeping the main punch to our north so cooler temperatures on Sunday will be the big story. I will update on the second storm on Saturday.

For now, here is what the Euro is looking at for snow tomorrow. Remember the Euro has roughly a 6-mile grid (think margin of error).


Check back Saturday afternoon for the latest on Sunday’s storm.

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Another Near Miss?

Unless something changes the operational models of the GFS and Euro have really de-emphasized the effects of the larger colder storm coming in late Saturday into Sunday. Early season or maybe I should refer to them as pre-season storms, have always favored this northerly track, there is nothing particularly unusual about not getting October snow, but it is fun when it happens.

As I mentioned the other day a smaller piece of energy will come across Thursday night or Friday morning, this smaller system could generate some flurries mostly around Purgatory and points north. Then Saturday night and Sunday another larger colder, wetter system will work its way into the region and at the moment looks like it will bring snow to the Northern and Central Colorado mountains. The path could change, but as I said earlier the operational models of Euro and GFS have really moved north. The ensembles tend to lag the operational models but you never know. I am going to give it another 48 hours and I will update Thursday unless I see a big swing overnight.

Hang in there it is just a matter of time.

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A Huge Challenge For Next Weekend

The models are going to be in flux this week as they decide what to do with Typhoon Hagibis. The storm is recurving, as typhoons often do this time of year. It is going to be a big early season storm for crab fishermen in the Bering Sea, so for those of you that watch Deadliest Catch in the spring remember this storm. Exactly where its remnants end up is the question. There is also going to be subtropical energy that is going to try to make its way into the southwest US, further confusing the models. Early indications show the remnants from Hagibis driving a small trough into our area Thursday night, which is unlikely to have a significant impact on our weather, however, a much more significant piece of energy shows up Saturday night and Sunday. This is the one to watch, no doubt there will be the potential for a lot of hype with this storm as the operational models are on a wild roller coaster ride.

Meteorologists are trained in these situations to seek the answers and guidance from the ensemble model runs, these “multi-model” are made up of a family of model members, the GFS has 21 members and the Euro has 51 members, each member produces it’s own version of what it thinks will happen, the solutions are blended together to come up with a consensus. Personally, I think a lot of things get missed if a forecaster relies too heavily on the ensembles. They are also low resolution, low-resolution models are horrible for our area with our diverse terrain.

Heavy reliance on ensembles the day before a storm hits usually sets a forecaster up for a big miss. For those of you that followed through the winter a huge example of this was when the Herald wrote a story quoting me saying Durango would get 20 inches of snow and the forecaster at the NWS in Grand Junction said that they didn’t rely on one particular model (ie operational), their blend of models (ensemble) was showing 4 inches of snow. I point this out not to discredit anyone, and I mentioned that after we got the 20+ inches, it is simply what they are trained to do, to fall back on the ensembles.

With all of that being said, we are 7 days out, and taking one particular operational run 7 days away and relying on that for a forecast is actually worse than relying 100% on ensembles the day before a storm hits.  So for the next few days, I will be tracking the ensembles as well as the operational models, by Thursday or so I will switch over to tracking only the operational runs as they approach a consensus solution.

So let’s look at the last couple of operational runs, versus the latest ensemble runs of the Euro and the GFS.

Here is the latest GFS snow forecast for next weekend. I normally would just disregard this and never post it, however, the point the whole point of this is to show how much the models are struggling with this.101306zGFSsnow

Just 6 hours earlier (GFS runs 4 times per day). The same operational model looked like this.


This is why you can trust one operational run. Here is the more balanced ensemble run.


The Euro is also on a roller coaster, although it is a much smaller coaster. Here is the latest Euro operational.


12 hours earlier (Euro runs twice a day) it looked like this.


And here are the Euro ensembles.


I put these up in a particular order because Facebook usually highlights the last photo on my post and I didn’t want the operational models to show up until you read enough of the post to keep things in perspective. So if you skipped over the whole post to look at the pictures you might want to go back and read it before you get excited about that GFS operational run.

Whatever happens with this, it does appear we will get one more chance after this for snow towards the end of the month. My next post will be on Tuesday.


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Want Snow? Go North

The cold air will be filtering in as the day progresses. The snow line may drop a bit further south,  at 7 am it is currently snowing in Telluride to just north of Red Mountain pass.

Telluride cams

Cold and windy will be the story for most of us with this one. The outlook for the next week looks like a return to seasonal temperatures and dry weather for the next 7-10 days. There are some signs from some models that we may enter a more active period of weather for the last 10 days of the month. The models have really struggled with the long term forecasts so confidence is fairly low in any particular outcome longer than 4 or 5 days out.


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Best Places To Chase The Snow

This is yet another impressive early-season winter storm, although it probably won’t seem like it around here. Check out the totals which will likely be record-setting especially in North Dakota.


Zooming in on Colorado


I am going to be too busy to chase this storm, but I will be chasing it on the computer. The latest model runs are a bit faster with the storm, snow should break out after midnight Wednesday and by Thursday morning in the higher elevations of northern San Juan, and San Miguel County then progresses a little further south near sunrise. I would expect a light dusting as far south as Coal Bank Pass and it is likely Wolf Creek will see a few flakes as well. Although the accumulations are expected to be low there will be strong enough winds to cause blowing snow which could create temporarily adverse driving conditions.

What has not changed in the models is the cold air that is coming. If you have any equipment or vegetation sensitive to cold air be aware that by Friday morning most areas will be between 10-20 degrees around here, Silverton could be lower. Below are the predicted temps for Friday morning.


After this, back to boring weather until the next storm system comes onshore, this time a little further south, around next Thursday or Friday (10/17–10/18).

Unless I see a dramatic change in the weather models later today, I won’t post again until tomorrow morning.


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Near Miss Update

Today’s morning Euro run shows a little further north track with the storm. Since we were not really expecting precip this far south anyway, essentially nothing has changed. The temperature profiles have not changed at all, it is still a cold storm and it will take a few days for the temperatures to recover.

Here was this morning’s Euro showing the snow accompanying the frontal passage to our north.


You may ask what type of storm path is better for us? Something more like this, that digs along the west coast and comes onshore in Central California. Here is what the Euro shows for the 18th.


Unfortunately, this magic ball model only extends out 240 hours, so we will have to wait a couple of days to see where it takes this one.

To recap, cold temperatures will be the biggest result of the Thursday storm.


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The Next Near Miss

The next near-miss of a storm will pass literally just to our north. Travel will be dicey from just north of Purg all of the way into Wyoming. The 285 corridor to Denver will also be affected.

This is one of those types of systems that, even if it extended further south, would not be a big snowmaker for us. It is what I refer to as a “Was that it? Storm” The frontal passage happens fast and furious, if you are lucky to get some snow it blows real hard and looks like a blizzard, then it blows through and the sun comes out.

If this system changes course and moves a little further south we will see snow and not rain with this system. In fact, it would be cold enough theoretically for snow in Farmington.

Here is what the model is showing for Thursday at noon.


The front is draped across the San Juans and moving quickly. I don’t expect high temps on Thursday to get out of the high 40’s or low 50’s before dropping afternoon.  By Friday morning temperatures in town should be around 20 degrees with teens in the mid-elevations and Silverton could hit zero to single digits. Telluride and Silverton should get a little bit of snow (good enough for marketing). Purgatory is on the fence for now. I will be updating tomorrow Wednesday and Thursday so stay tuned. As I said, even if the track of this storm changes, it is highly unlikely it brings us much more than a dusting.


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Something to Talk About??

A storm with the coldest air of the year will approach between the middle and the end of the coming week.

Because it is several days away I don’t want to go into it too much. But check out the most recent run of the Euro for Thursday! This is the furthest south the models have brought this in.


If you are a newbie, that blue is snow! Check out the temps crashing on Thursday afternoon!


Remember this is just one run but it is exciting to see. I will be posting again on Monday if you are traveling through the state on Thursday, check back for updates.


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Freeze Watch Tonight

**I usually post this statement at the end but I wanted to remind you that if you have a question for me, especially a timely question, use the contact link at the bottom of the post to contact me. During boring weather periods, I may only check Facebook every 5-10 days. However, I check my email at least 5-10 times a day. I am always happy to help with travel questions etc so don’t hesitate to contact me, I am just not on Facebook very much unless we are in the middle of a snowstorm.**


Wow, another boring patch of weather (for us anyway) since my last post. That is going to continue, it does not in any way give us a picture of what the winter will bring, speaking of winter, I can’t let that historic winter storm last weekend in the northwest go by without mentioning it. If you haven’t seen the totals in Montana. Check this out:


Listed above are the cities and in parentheses are the counties they are located in. Cut Bank Montana got down to 1 degree Tuesday morning, ONE… The town of Browning, with their 48 inch total is now just 10 inches shy of their average winter snowfall of 58 inches!

We won’t see single digits here for quite some time, but I do like that the NWS issued a freeze watch for tonight for areas that have not yet had a freeze this season. There are some models that have been missing the mark on low temps for a while, so if you compare the temps on the point forecast to the model guidance you can see they overrode the models for the forecast.

There is a small chance of some showers developing late Thursday into Friday, but at the moment, to me, it looks like most of the precip won’t hit the ground if it does I would expect very low accumulation. If this changes in the models I will post again before then.

This should be a good weekend for viewing the colors in the high country enjoy that!

Remember if you don’t see me posting very often, it usually means there is very little to talk about in the world of weather here locally, don’t worry winter will be here soon enough and I will post with alacrity!


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