Is That It? Wait That’s Not It

There is very little to talk about with our weather for the weekend. Most models show some high elevation heat-based (Nonsoon) thunderstorms firing especially Friday and Sunday afternoon, then increasing slightly in intensity on Monday afternoon. This is not news for late summer.
I am delaying my Hurricane Dorian (full) post another 24 hours, the Euro is really messing with the NHC, I am not sure what happened but the latest operational run of the Euro is diving the hurricane south through the central Bahamas and not making a full landfall, but instead skirting the Florida Coast bringing hurricane conditions to most of the Florida eastern Coast from Tuesday morning through Thursday before downgrading to a tropical storm near JAX, then heading up the GA coast and into South Carolina Coast by next weekend (9/7). Everything tells me this is a highly unlikely scenario due to the subsidence (unfavorable conditions for development) that far south.
So now, the Euro has either lost step, or is brilliant and we need a couple of more runs to figure out which. It is also keeping the heaviest rains just offshore until it gets to Cocoa Beach and drops about a foot.
I am watching other models including the German ICON model, which has been the most accurate so far with its path.
The NHC will not be able to narrow the cone until there is more consistency.
I have seen model runs over the days that show landfall anywhere from Miami to Daytona with intensities of Cat 2 to Cat 4.
I have also seen model runs showing it hitting Ft Lauderdale then Naples, then Tampa then crossing the state and heading into Georgia and the Carolinas.
So, for now, no cool pictures of model runs, when the models are not consistent I don’t want something being shared when there is so much at stake.

You Can’t Cherry Pick The Weather Data

This is in response to the Durango Herald Article about the heat.

Herald article on the heat

It is highly unlikely the 100-degree COOP report was correct, the high at the airport that day was recorded at 83 degrees. August has had a few high temps above average and some below average, but you can’t just measure the highest days and come to a conclusion. You have to measure all days, both highs and lows to see what the daily temps really look like. Daily temps are the combination of the highs and the lows, anomalies are the departure from the sum of the average high and low for the day.

According to NOAA’s CDAS (Climate Data Assimilation System) here are the actual temperature daily anomalies for the last 20 days.

cdas august.png

Here is a zoomed-in version


Am I nitpicking? Maybe but 5-7 degrees above normal is huge for actual daily temps and it is not correct in our case.  This story may just be too early because warmer (daily) temps are forecasted for the next 2-4 weeks.


Here is what that looks like.


As far as moisture the longterm forecast shows below average precip through the end of August with slightly above-average moisture for the first half of September.



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Hotter Than “Normal” This Summer?

I was asked why it has been “such a hotter summer than normal for much of the country”. Rather than go into a lot of details I will let the graphics do the talking. These are directly from the CDAS (Climate Data Assimilation System) from NOAA

30-day average temperature anomalies. Blues and greens indicate below normal, and reds and yellow indicate above average. The chart on the bottom corresponds to the colors showing the number of degrees below or above average.


45-day temperature anomalies


60-day temperature anomalies


90 day


120 day


I think some people forget that Summer usually is hot! , That being said a good portion of the US has had below “average” temperatures this Summer.


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Flood Watch Continues, Monsoon- Nonsoon, Gone Soon

Here is the latest from NWS

“Flood Watch
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
604 AM MDT Sun Aug 11, 2019

Southwest San Juan Mountains-Animas River Basin-
604 AM MDT Sun Aug 11 2019


The Flash Flood Watch continues for  

* The 416 Fire Burn Scar in Northwest La Plata County.

* Through 9 PM MDT this evening

* National Weather Service Meteorologists are forecasting heavy
rainfall over and near the 416 Fire burn scar, which may lead
to flash flooding and debris flows. In addition to the heavy
rainfall portions of the 416 burn scar received around one
inch of rain Friday so the ground is likely saturated in spots
and therefore it may increase the runoff.

* The potential for heavy rainfall over the 416 Wildfire burn
scar is of particular concern due to the threat of debris
flows and flash flooding. Residents near this wildfire burn
scar and along the Highway 550 corridor near Hermosa should
prepare for potential flooding impacts. Be sure to stay up to
date with information from local authorities.”

All of that being said the new morning model runs show the continuing trend of moving the heaviest precip into Archuleta County this afternoon, hopefully, some of Eastern La Plata will get in on that since they have been repeatedly blanked by the last couple of events.

I found this interesting in the overnight AFD (area forecast discussion), it shows how uncertain they are about what to expect.

“It is important to stress that, even in the short-term,
significant discrepancies can emerge amongst forecast models.
While the presence of the shortwave is evident in the latest model
runs, the exact track remains uncertain. Looking at the high-
resolution models, the NAM12 carries the shortwave from the west-
central New Mexico north into Archuleta County before drifting
east. The HRRR has a similar origin point, only it advects the
shortwave further north along the Continental Divide before
tracking east. As far as the extended models go, both the Euro and
the Canadian favor the more southerly track while the GFS is
similar to the HRRR. The ultimate track of the shortwave this
afternoon and evening will considerably alter storm coverage and
intensity, especially if the greater support aloft remains to the

I understand the CYA but she references the NAM12 model which is hardly ever used anymore, the HRRR model that does not work in mixed terrain (it works GREAT over flat terrain), and the GFS, well, you know how I feel about that.

So, the WRF which was about 75% useful last winter, is the only real alternative for us to reference. That being said it was wrong yesterday morning and Friday morning.

Here is animated future radar from 9 am this morning through Monday at 6 am.


This shows a crushing blow to Pagosa around 4-6 pm this afternoon. My only issue is that there is still a lot of available moisture to the west. Clouds kill convection, there are plenty of clouds today, it will take another trigger, voila another shortwave.


Here is the moisture plume.


Will some of us get a repeat of Friday? Will the heaviest rains track over Pagosa? Will they miss everyone and go north? Hell if I know. This reminds me of the problems I had with the models during the 17-18′ winter. I am anxious to see the first major trough come into the west, also the possibility of a recurving typhoon or cyclone in the hyper-active western pacific.

This week, Monday through at least Wednesday, drier weather will prevail for low and most middle elevations. However, in the higher terrain, there will be a chance of high heat based thunderstorms (Nonsoon) nearly every day.


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Flood Watch, I Think I Pissed Off The Monsoon…

Yesterday things came together better than anticipated. The ingredients were there, but the models were not, the models lost. Most of the totals were under 1/3 of an inch, I presume there were higher totals up north, but there were various internet and cellular outages there so I am not sure how reliable the totals are.

One thing is for sure, there is plenty of available moisture around, with much more headed this way this evening. By late this evening into early Sunday morning the precipitable water values (PWAT) will peak to highest levels that we have seen so far this year, precipitable water values (PWAT) don’t show you how much rain will fall, they show you how much rain potentially could fall over any given area if everything comes together. The models bring the heaviest rain in between midnight and mid-morning Sunday. That being said, this morning PWAT are higher than they were yesterday and they will gradually increase throughout the day and evening.

You may wonder if they are higher today than yesterday then shouldn’t we get more rain today than yesterday? We could, but as I said yesterday the moisture was not the only element that brought the rain in, the most important component was the shortwave trough.

Below you can see the trough approaching for the west at noon on Friday.



Next is a simple view of the Colored Water Vapor satellite image, the green areas below indicate the moisture that is supposed to be forced up into the area, the neon green in southern New Mexico is the most abundant moisture.


There is already a Flash Flood Watch due to the saturated grounds in and around the burn scar areas. The Watch is only issued until midnight, but keep in mind they will probably modify that or issue another one to cover between midnight and 5 pm on Sunday.

Flood Watch
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
226 AM MDT Sat Aug 10 2019

Southwest San Juan Mountains-Animas River Basin-
226 AM MDT Sat Aug 10 2019


The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a

* Flash Flood Watch for the 416 Fire Burn Scar in Northwest La
Plata County.

* From noon MDT today through midnight tonight.

* National Weather Service Meteorologists are forecasting heavy
rainfall over the 416 Fire burn scar, which may lead to flash
flooding and debris flows. In addition to the heavy rainfall
portions of the 416 burn scar received around one inch of rain
yesterday so the ground could be saturated in spots and
therefore it may increase the runoff.

* The potential for heavy rainfall over the 416 Wildfire burn scar
is of particular concern due to the threat of debris flows and
flash flooding. Residents near this wildfire burn scar and along
the Highway 550 corridor near Hermosa should prepare for
potential flooding impacts. Be sure to stay up to date with
information from local authorities.


Local emergency services are monitoring the situation and will
issue a public statement as conditions warrant. Plan now so you
will know what to do in an emergency. Keep informed by listening
to local radio and television for statements and possible
warnings. Follow the advice of public safety officials.


Could it still miss us? Of course, in that respect, it is no different than Winter. The best chance for a bust would be to the east channeling everything into Archuleta County, at the moment the models show the precip pretty evenly divided between the three border counties.

I will be watching this one for sure, expect more updates as this evolves.


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Monsoon-Nonsoon Strikes Again

The lack of the Monsoon this year was predicted by many including myself quite some time ago. The fact is that we have yet to see copious amounts of moisture come up and fall as rain. The rain we have had has been either high elevation convection or some type of upper-level feature (mainly short wave troughs) that come through or near the area that mix with the other ingredients heat and recycled moisture to produce a decent yet spotty downpour.

For today a similar set up will occur, a slight push of moisture into the area, a shortwave trough approaching from the southwest and a hint of the jet stream approaching the area, this is the setup, it looks good on paper, but the models are not that impressed   keeping the precipitation mainly up north above 8,500′, but you never know, NWS has 40% chances for a good portion of the lower and mid-elevation areas which seems like a decent hedge.

Fast forward to Saturday late afternoon-evening-night-overnight-Sunday morning and you have a much different story. A larger push of moisture, a large trough from the west, a larger shortwave (than today) tracking in from the southwest and the right front entrance region of the jet all get involved for what appears now to be rain for all. Timing is different between the models but it looks like the best bet is between late afternoon and midnight to start and lasting into Sunday. If the models continue to show this over the next 24 hours we may see some “Heavy Rain” wording come into the forecast which would lead to some flash flood discussions.  All said and done, the models are predicting .4″-.7″ for lower and mid-elevations to well over an inch above 8,500′.

I should be able to do a quick update tomorrow morning with the latest from the models. Overnight rain Saturday into Sunday would be great for sleep, I hope this pans out!


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Monday Update

I wrote this afternoon, but something came up and I forgot to send it out

Today was the nice day for the elevations.

If you have been spending any amount of time above 8,500′, today was your day. This is my fourth day in a row at Purgatory and it looks like we will make it through the day without any rain. Well, this is it. Tuesday afternoon it appears the moisture will return and afternoon showers will dominate the next few days for the high country.

There is a chance that spotty showers will return to the mid-elevation areas, as early as Tuesday afternoon. The atmosphere is going to really juice up Wednesday through Thursday night so lower elevations may get in on the action.

The models are still inconclusive for the weekend I will update again before then.

The model parameters that actually show things like future radar and storm development have been horrible this summer. The only difference between this year and last year for the models is we have a new GFS. It should not affect the other models directly,  however, it does affect the blended model solutions.

I have had the opportunity to talk to a few followers lately and from looking at my stats it looks like only 20 percent of you follow anything in the summer, I agree it is boring, but from time to time when there are pattern breaks, changes, and lulls I will try to get an update out for your viewing pleasure.

The GFS is actually showing August snow in northern Wyoming, but it is the GFS, not only that it is the new GFS, and if you have read other updates you know that while I am rooting for it, it has been a pain in the butt, hopefully, it will get some upgrades before Winter arrives!

We are just a couple weeks out from seeing more significant snow on the long-range (6 1/2 week) Euro weekly model. Here is what it is showing at the moment.


The Atmospheric Scientists that I follow are not spending a lot of time delving into the Winter yet with any sense of urgency.  From what I can gather at this point it looks like very slightly above-average temps this fall through November, with slightly below temps for December through February.  It also looks like we will be in neutral ENSO conditions (neither El Nino nor La Nina). What does that mean? Well, El Nino and La Nina are very small factors in our area’s Winter conditions overall, the biggest snow years in Durango and the mountains have been in ENSO neutral years.


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Summer Update

The weather pattern began to transition last week, then the moisture got cut off but is expected to move back in over the next couple of days. Next week, it appears that things will ramp up a bit, in fact over the next three weeks I am finally seeing above-average precipitation in the long term models, then average precipitation from the last 10 days of August through roughly the first half of September.

Whenever the Herald posts a story about the weather, I get emails from people asking me my opinion. 10 days ago I wrote about the pattern changing and bringing ingredients together better for an uptick in precipitation. That seems to be happening and the models indicate that although there will be lulls here and there it should continue.

The bigger story is that the radar in Grand Junction is offline through August 3rd. Yes, the temporary radar is in place but most people don’t know how to read it because there is always noise in the raw data. So the NWS will still be able to observe our area and issue any warnings as necessary. However, the main radar that is tied into the numerical weather models, especially the short term mesoscale models will be offline so it is going to affect the model output as well as the forecast accuracy. Radar returns that are reflected on your apps will likely be affected because data will be pulled from Denver, Flagstaff, Abq, and Salt Lake.

Going back to that article, in the sixth paragraph it says “In the next few days, Durango’s best chance for rain is Thursday evening and Friday morning, he said. But the storm is expected to bring only about 0.01 inch of rain, he said.”

I don’t think I would let myself be quoted saying that, especially in an area as susceptible to flooding as the burn scar areas are, and when your mesoscale models are being affected by your radar outage.

Bottom line, be prepared for about anything at least until they get the radar back up and running on Monday. Your apps and the NWS will likely be less accurate than normal.

Still too early to talk about Winter, although, I expect that we will start seeing snow in the Euro weekly long-range (46 days) model runs before long, mid to late September snow at or above 10,000 feet is not unusual.


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An End To The Boring Weather Pattern?

For the last 10 days or so I have started writing an update only to lose interest in what I was talking about because the weather has been so boring. Sure, we have seen a few pop-up elevation based storms but the moisture has not been abundant and we have not had a decent set up to start seeing some of those Monsoonal type of downpours in the lower elevations that many have been craving.

As you may remember the US GFS model got replaced with the “New GFS” now just known as the GFS, as if nothing changed. The problem is it has changed, and it failed on its first major assignment, Tropical Storm Barry. It is currently failing its second major assignment which is the heatwave in the east-which is all going to turn around in the next 24-48 or so hours with temps dropping to below average in the same areas that have been experiencing above-average temps. Watch below as the above-average temps in oranges and reds transition to below average temps (blues and green).


This is the Euro between this afternoon and Friday evening.

The GFS shows a huge increase in showers beginning late Monday and Tuesday with a reinforcing shot as we get into mid-week. I don’t trust the GFS right now. The Euro shows a lot of available moisture streaming in this week, but shows a bit of a struggle in putting all of the other ingredients in place for big storms at low elevations.

Monsoon type conditions are difficult to put a start date in our area, people mistake afternoon high/heat based storms for the Monsoonal recycled flow from Arizona, I have discussed this at length and don’t want to spend a lot more time on it. However, it looks like we may be drifting into a pattern where the ingredients will have a better opportunity to come together than they have so far this summer.

The Euro weekly long term (46-day outlook), continues to show drier than normal conditions but acknowledges the uptick in moisture this week as well as the coming weeks. Unfortunately, it shows the largest deficits relative to average over the Wolf Creek to Pagosa area, which is likely the most vulnerable area for fire.

We were fortunate to have such a robust Winter and a calm cool Spring. We largely avoided flooding with the drier than normal conditions but now we do need to see some precipitation especially in the mid-elevation areas.

This is usually about the time people start asking about Winter.  This year, that has not been the case, I think I have had one email about next Winter even though the average first snow above 10,000 feet is usually about 7-8 weeks from now! What I am seeing right now shows a similar start to Winter as last year, a long slightly warmer than average fall through mid-December then a shift at the end of December to early January to below average temps and above average precip.  September is when I usually get a little more vested into looking at Winter.

Nationally, the biggest news meteorologically speaking is the lack of Tropical development in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. I talked about this weeks ago when analyzing the 46-day precipitation run from the Euro. This doesn’t mean we won’t have tropical activity, however, it will be very difficult in the near term in what they call the Main Development Region (MDR)-which is between 10-20 north latitude and east of 70 west longitude. Instead, we will see periodic development close to the US and Latin American Coasts. Globally, there are massive pools of below-average ocean temperatures which are inhibiting Global tropical activity. There is a large pool of cool water off the East Coast that we have not seen in a while. Last winter I talked about what some Atmospheric Scientists are seeing as a change in the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation to a Cool Phase rather than the warm Phase we have been in for the 25 or so years. Here are the most recent Sea Surface Temperature anomalies.

Screenshot 2019-07-21 at 12.36.32 PM.png

Here is a self-explanatory chart going back to 1880 that shows the cycles of the AMO.


A cool phase or negative AMO is one of the factors that results in cooler weather for our Continent.

I enjoy hearing from people but I have a confession to make, I am not a huge fan of Facebook, I know, I know, that is how this whole thing started. I only share this because unless I am tracking some severe storms in the Summer or Winter Storms in the Winter, or if there is some type of natural disaster like a fire I am not going to be on Facebook, so if you want to contact me you can email me at anytime by clicking the contact button that I provide on every post. I apologize to those who messaged me through Facebook with time-sensitive questions.

No news is no news when it comes to me posting an update, so when you don’t hear from me, it usually means I have nothing new to highlight or talk about. Hopefully, that won’t continue to be the case.


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