Here We Go

9/20/22 Tuesday 8:15 am
It is transition Tuesday. Everything is on track and a significant change to the dry weather is on the way. The biggest change in the models over the last 24 hours has been timing. The precipitation for the most part will not get underway until late in the day or this evening.
Aside from the timing, the models have been very consistent in showing excessive rainfall for the entire forecast area over the next 72 hours. Let’s just jump right into all of the model runs. My confidence is pretty high in the forecasted totals.
NOAA blended NBM
NOAA blended WPC
European
This looks a little off to me with the focus over Cortez and the far southern portions of the forecast area, we’ll see.
Canadian
GFS
NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is all over this event. Here are the excessive rainfall outlooks for the next 72 hours.
Now through Wednesday at 6 am–remember it should not really get started until late today/evening.
Wednesday 6 am through Thursday 6 am
The red is very significant. It means that any area under the red shading has a 40% chance of flash flooding.  I do not remember ever seeing red for our forecast area since I have been doing this. The yellow indicates a 15% chance of flash flooding, which is still a significant number when it is as widespread as they are showing.
Thursday 6 am through Friday 6 am.
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A Wet Week Beginning Tuesday Afternoon

9/19/22 Monday 5:30 am
Moisture is headed our way and most locations in the forecast area will end up with above-average precipitation for September. For today, there will be a slight chance of isolated afternoon showers.  Scattered showers will develop on Tuesday afternoon first over the higher terrain then moving into the middle and finally lower elevation areas. Showers should become more widespread later in the day as abundant moisture arrives. The heaviest rain will fall Wednesday afternoon through Thursday. This is when we may see the greatest chances of flash flooding.

With the exception of the GFS, all of the models are showing totals higher than 2 inches for most of the forecast area this week.

NOAA’s blended models are really spreading the love across the forecast area.
NOAA NBM
NOAA’s WPC
Here is the latest European
Canadian
German
Then there is the GFS–no comment
The European Ensemble model shows an average run of 52 model members. Here is the latest.
This is likely the reason the NOAA blended models are coming in so high. It also gives a boost of confidence to their forecast.
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Sunday Morning Update–Better Model Agreement For Heavy Rain

9/18/22 Sunday 6:45 am
The models are coming together and trending towards a wetter forecast for SW Colorado and NW New Mexico.
Humidity and Precipitable Water Values will start to increase Monday afternoon. On Tuesday those values will continue to grow steadily throughout the day resulting in a good chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. By Wednesday we will see the heaviest rain which will continue into Thursday. Things should start to dry out on Friday.
Here are the Precipitable Water Values (PWAT) relative to the average for this time of year.  We will start at about 140% of average and go up to 250%-320% of average on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here are the latest forecasted precipitation totals for Tuesday through Friday.
WPC NOAA/Weather Prediction Center blended model
Canadian
GFS
Euro
It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the northern portions of the forecast area. The current GFS run is showing much higher totals in Telluride than any other model. It has also been less consistent from run to run.
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Saturday Morning Update On Next Week

9/17/22 Saturday 6:30 am
The models are mostly aligned towards a widespread precipitation event throughout the forecast area beginning Tuesday. I say mostly because the Canadian has not been back on board for the last 48 or so hours. The ensemble family (multi-model) runs look encouraging.
The models are doing their best to juggle an unseasonably deep trough off of the California Coast, a dying Tropical Cyclone off of Baja, and high pressure to our east. This is why I am relying on ensemble and blended model guidance versus the “regular” model runs.
Here is what they are showing in their latest runs. For the majority of the forecast area, anything over 0.50 or so inches would be considered anomalously high for the week.
Euro Ensemble
GFS Ensemble
NOAA’s National Blend of Models (NBM)
NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center model (WPC)
NOAA/WPC publishes an Excessive Rainfall Outlook every day, it is very very unusual for them to put in anything longer than 3 days out in the future but they are already highlighting the forecast area for days 4 and 5 (Tuesday and Wednesday).
Tuesday
Wednesday
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Extended Outlook

9/16/22 Friday 8:45 am
Before I get into the long term, I need to address next week. I posted the precipitation maps yesterday showing anomalous rainfall for the entire forecast area. I mentioned that I was hesitant to do so, but there was widespread model agreement for the event. I also said there is a lot of time before Tuesday and models tend to change before locking into a decision. I was right about that. Check out the flip-flops with the Euro over the last 24 hours.
Here was the run I posted yesterday
Here is the next run
That would be the equivalent of a 70-inch snowstorm in the winter over 4 days…but wait, here is the latest Euro run.
Still impressive but quite a change. The other models had similar flips, the Canadian moved the heavy precipitation hundreds of miles away. The ensemble (multi-member models) have been pretty consistent showing an anomalous event, but they are closer to the above run than the record-setting run from yesterday.
The Euro weekly extended run comes out very late on Mondays and Thursdays. I was in the habit of posting the precipitation anomalies on Tuesdays. I have not done that in a while so wanted to update everyone on the latest run from late last night.
Obviously, a significant event is factored into the totals because the model is now showing a significant anomaly in the long term.
Here is the positive anomaly through 10/16
Through 10/30
Snow through 10/16
Snow through 10/30
I love seeing those colors again. To put this in perspective, here are the average snowfalls for October: Durango 1.1″, Telluride (Trout Lake is the nearest reporting site) 11.1″, Silverton 8.3″, Pagosa 4″.
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Thursday Update Monthly Totals–Moisture Returns Next Week

9/15/22 Thursday 8:20 am

Yesterday was a pretty nice change of pace for a good portion of the forecast area. If things come together the way that the models are indicating for Tuesday through Saturday of next week, September will end up with above to well above average precipitation. More on that later.

Yesterday’s rain motivated me this morning to go and update all of the networked weather stations throughout the forecast area where I gather data. There are still a few stations that have been offline for a few months. I did not delete them, hopefully, people will fire them back up for the winter. There are a ton of new ones out there. People’s interest in the weather locally seems to be increasing.

I was more interested in monthly totals rather than recent totals. What I found was the far northern portions of the forecast area (Montrose, Ridgway, Telluride, and Ouray) have had a pretty dry month overall. The totals started increasing from Silverton down to the Purgatory area and over to Ridgway as well as the Central locations. Eastern portions of the forecast area and around Bayfield have done pretty well. The majority of the rest of the forecast area is running slightly below to well below average precipitation.

Here are some totals for the month so far.

Far Northern Locations

Telluride 0.45 to 0.65

Ouray 0.29

Ridgway 0.26

Montrose 0.39

North Central Locations

Silverton 1.30

Rico 1.31

Hermosa Cliffs 1.83

Lakewood Meadows 2.15

Twilight Peaks 2.11

Central Locations

Glacier Club 1.13

Northwest of Hermosa 3.39

Bar D Ranch 2.04

Falls Creek 1.57

Cottonwoods 1.14

Southern Locations

Mancos in town 0.53

Hesperus 1.11

Durango West II 1.03

Lake Durango 0.76

Rafter J 0.93

Durango in town .36 – 1.03

Edgemont 1.09

Loma Linda 0.75

Ignacio 0.58

Florida Mesa 0.65

Elmore’s Corner 0.60

Eastern Locations

North of Gem Village 3.39

Bayfield 1.41

South of Bayfield 1.11

Bear Creek 1.60

Forest Lakes 1.25

South of Vallecito 0.97

North Vallecito 2.13

Los Ranchitos 0.88

Pagosa in town 0.86

South Fork 0.33

——————-

Our highly variable terrain in SW Colorado is responsible for orographic influences which, depending on the storm track, can lead to dramatic differences in precipitation totals within a couple of miles of locations.

Over the next couple of days, our precipitation will be back to isolated afternoon convective showers. Many areas will be dry. The models are showing a deep trough off of the California Coast early next week. As it moves east the models are showing the trough moving east into the Great Basin and channeling a huge batch of sub-tropical moisture right into the forecast area.

Here is an early look at what the models are seeing for precipitation totals Tuesday through Saturday. It is probably too early to look at these because things can always change. However, there is amazing agreement among the models for it being several days away, so here you go.

GFS

European

Canadian

NOAA National Blended Model NBM

 

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Nice Wet Fall Day

9/14/22 Wednesday 7:15 am
Stratiform showers developed late last night and have redeveloped across the forecast area in the last couple of hours. As of 6:30 am running totals have ranged from .020 inches to just under 0.50 inches. The showers have been tracking from SW to NE across the forecast area. This pattern is expected to continue throughout the day today.
Here is the current radar
Here is a little closer look at the high-elevation snow (in blue)
Here is a regional view of the radar showing more widespread showers to our west
Keep in mind that most of SW Colorado, SE Utah, and NE Arizona have abysmal radar coverage so we may not be getting an accurate picture of what is really occurring.
The model that handled the precipitation the best so far was the European model. The latest overnight run of that model shows rain continuing and possibly increasing in coverage and intensity by noon. All of the models under forecasted the totals that have fallen thus far.
Thanks for your reports. My next update will be out on Thursday.
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A Couple Of Cool Wet Days Ahead

9/12/22 Monday 6:30 am
It is feeling very fall-like across the forecast area with temps in the low to mid-40s. A few notable exceptions are Vallecito and Lemon in the upper 30s. Silverton is 30 degrees. Just outside of the forecast area, it is in the mid to upper 20s in the Gunnison Valley. We have not yet reached the lows for the day, so I expect a couple of degrees lower in the next hour or so. We should have brilliant fall colors this year, please send me reports and I will share them with everyone.
Today will be a little warmer than the last 2 days. Once again isolated convective showers will develop this afternoon. Yesterday showers developed mainly over eastern portions of the forecast area.
Later today the high-pressure ridge will slowly begin to move east of the forecast area. This is in response to a shortwave trough moving in from our west. Remnant moisture from post-tropical storm/disturbance Kay will become entrained in the trough in SW flow.
PWAT (precipitable water values) will be on the increase in the overnight hours. The atmosphere will become saturated throughout the day on Tuesday leading to widespread showers. Don’t mistake these showers for the monsoon, the monsoon is done until next year. Showers will continue on Wednesday, at this time models are mixed for Thursday. If we get a bunch of rain Tuesday and Wednesday, it is likely that showers will redevelop Thursday afternoon. Snow will be possible Tuesday and Wednesday at or above 12,000 feet.
I have a couple of action-packed days ahead. I have to drive to ABQ early Tuesday morning so I will not be able to get an update out. I will be back Tuesday afternoon so I will do an update Wednesday morning.
Please send me weather reports/totals Tuesday and Wednesday. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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A Change Is On The Way

9/11/22 Sunday 5 am
Finally, something to talk about! I have been patiently waiting for our first taste of fall weather. The Front Range got a pleasant representation of fall yesterday. At 4 pm temperatures ranged from the upper 40s to lower 50s in the lower elevations with temps at or above the 8000-foot level in the upper 30s to low 40s.
We will not see that this week, but the temperature will be noticeably cooler beginning on Tuesday. It looks like widespread showers will be developing as well.
It seems like forever since I last did this but let’s put the maps in motion and see how this all plays out. The Euro has been very consistent for the last few days so that is the model I have chosen.
This starts Tuesday at 6 am and lasts through late Thursday night. Each frame represents 6 hours. The darker the shades, the heavier the precipitation. Green is liquid, and blue is snow. At the moment it looks like the snow level will be around 12,000 feet.
For today, isolated afternoon convective showers will be possible. These are the unpredictable type that favor the higher elevations but are possible anywhere. Tomorrow should be a relatively quiet day with lower chances of showers developing. I will follow up on that and the rest of the week tomorrow morning.
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Spotty Showers

9/7/22 Wednesday 8 am
Yesterday a few isolated convective (nonsoonal) showers developed across mainly the southern and central portions of the forecast area. The highest totals I could find were in my own neighborhood. Durango West 2 picked up 0.45 inches of rain. Graupel mixed in with a couple of heavy downpours. It did not last very long.
Although the monsoon is over, these afternoon convective (nonsoonal) showers are common in September. They are very difficult to predict when and where they will occur.
A couple of things may affect our weather this weekend. Hurricane Kay, about 200 miles south of the tip of Baja, will continue to move north and start weakening. Models are divided on what path it will take as that happens. Some of the remnants may get caught up in the flow and make it into our area. There are also models that show the storm weakening and turning sharply to the west and back out to sea. It is a coin flip at this point. Even if some of the remnants make it here, I do not expect high precipitation totals.
The other factor that could affect our weather is a cold front that should drape across the Front Range bringing cooler weather east of the divide and if we’re lucky drop temperatures west of the divide late weekend into next week. Seasonal temperatures would feel pretty good after the warm weather we have been having.
No promises on either the wetter weather or the cooler temperatures just yet. We will have to see how it pans out.
I will be tracking both of these features and I will put something out as soon as the models get a better handle on them. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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