Rainy Weekend +

5/13/23 Sunday 7:45 am

Rain showers and high-elevation snow showers will develop this afternoon and return on Sunday. There is a good chance more showers will be on the way Monday and Tuesday. We may get a short break before showers return throughout the week.

CAPE will be sufficient to develop thunderstorms by 1 pm today.  Some storms may be strong enough to develop brief heavy rain and hail this afternoon.

Here are the forecast models for total precipitation through Monday morning. The GFS is the wettest and the Canadian sets the showers up mainly to the east.

GFS

European

NOAA NBM

Canadian

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Friday Extended Outlook–Well Above Average Precipitation On The Way!

5/12/23 Friday 6:20 am

Late on Saturday, we will see a rare push of Gulf of Mexico moisture retrograde (from east to west) across Colorado and New Mexico. This will trigger rain showers and snow showers across the area. The moisture will linger into Sunday and possibly Monday as afternoon showers redevelop due to convection.

This will be a precursor to what continues to look like an above-average precipitation period for 14 to 30 days. It does not mean we won’t see breaks in the precipitation, but overall, especially for the last half of May through the first half of June we will end up with well above-average precipitation.

Here are the latest extended model runs

European next 7 days–this is the total above average, not the forecast total.

GFS next 7 days–this is the total above average, not the forecast total.

 

European–Amount above average  through June 14th

GFS–amount above average through June 14th

Too early to worry, but something to keep in mind if you live in low-lying areas that have not had flooding in the last few years. If you live in areas that are regularly affected by flooding, I am sure you know what precautions to take.

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Winter Returns To The Mountains

5/11/23 Thursday 6:30 am

Hopefully, everyone enjoyed the warmer temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday. As expected, that came to an abrupt end overnight.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the Mountain Lodge webcam at 6:15 am in Telluride.

The scene is similar on Red Mountain Pass. There is also snow on the other 550 passes, Silverton, Purgatory, and Wolf Creek.  This will not be the last time we see snow in these areas. Snow will likely return this weekend. As I mentioned the other day the last half of May looks cooler and wetter than the first half of May. More on that on Friday!

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Warmer Then Cooler And Wetter

5/9/23 Tuesday 8 am

Warm spring temperatures will return today and tomorrow before a system moves through bringing mountain snow and light rain to the forecast area late Wednesday and Thursday. I don’t expect this to be that big of a deal but it will be a nice change.

The outlook for the weekend is mixed, however, the extended models are beginning to suggest the last half of May and most of June may be anomalously wet. Because May and June are our driest months this would be a great way to kick off summer and provide us with some moisture before the rainy season begins!

Here are the latest European extended model runs showing the positive anomalies for precipitation and negative temperature anomalies.

Precipitation (departure from average)

Through June 8th

Through June 22nd

Below average temperatures

Through June 8th

Through June 22nd

The GFS extended model through June 12 shows an even more impressive above-average precipitation forecast.

Enjoy the warm temperatures the next couple of days!

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Slow Going Shoulder Season

5/7/23 Sunday 8:10 am

Late spring is very challenging for weather models. Because May and June are characteristically dry months, a slightly sneaky storm here or there can cause a significant anomaly in the precipitation totals. Slight changes in the upper-level jet can bounce us back and forth between winter and summer. This usually leaves us with windy conditions.

Which is where we are now. We should transition into slightly warmer temperatures Monday-Wednesday before another system moves in from the west late Wednesday bringing a return of light rain showers and mountain snow to the area. The models show this system lifting out on Friday. At that point, the models really diverge, the GFS shows sub-tropical moisture retrograding into the forecast area. The European shows a ridge building across the area. We will see. If that moisture does show up, it will be interesting to see which weather network incorrectly identifies it as “Monsoonal”…

After such an exciting winter, forecasters look for something interesting to discuss. When I first started doing this, I only did it in the late fall and winter. As my following grew I started posting more regularly during the “off-season”. At the request of followers, I would track and update everyone on any local wildfires. Hopefully, that won’t be an issue this year.

It is looking more and more like we will experience a significant ENSO event this year. The end result would be a “Strong” or “Very Strong” El Nino. As I have said year after year, El Nino and La Nina have less of an effect on us (specifically SW Colorado) than in other areas. An El Nino does not always mean a wetter winter. Just as a La Nina does not guarantee a dry winter. Last winter was a La Nina winter, did it seem dry to anyone around here? I point that out because there are areas that are definitely affected by ENSO and you will be hearing about it a lot this year. The heaviest winters around here have always occurred during very weak to neutral ENSO conditions.

So what does that mean for us? Too early to tell, but I can tell you that the forecast for El Nino would resemble the 97-98 and the 15-16 El Nino, with a little bit of 09-10 thrown in. That does not mean the snowfall will be similar, it means the El Nino will be similar to what it was then.

It is also too early to talk about the monsoon season. I should have a better handle on it in a couple of weeks or so.

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Monday Update

4/24/23 Monday 4:15 am

Precipitation is building in from West to East across the forecast area. This is from the shortwave I mentioned yesterday which is in advance of the front that will be approaching later today.

Here is the 3:45 am radar

The radar returns are more impressive than what is actually reaching the ground.  But don’t be surprised to see a few light scattered showers with some snow mixed in above 8,200 feet this morning. Snow levels will quickly increase throughout the day.

Tonight the main precipitation maker moves in, but this event will mainly be restricted to areas around Red Mountain Pass. Other areas above 9,000 feet will be impacted, but with less snow.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
240 AM MDT Mon Apr 24 2023

COZ018-019-242200-
/O.EXB.KGJT.WW.Y.0030.230425T0000Z-230426T1200Z/
Northwest San Juan Mountains-Southwest San Juan Mountains-
240 AM MDT Mon Apr 24 2023

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO
6 AM MDT WEDNESDAY ABOVE 10000 FEET...

* WHAT...Snow expected above 10000 feet. Total snow
  accumulations of 6 to 12 inches. Winds gusting as high as 40
  mph.

* WHERE...Northwest San Juan Mountains and Southwest San Juan
  Mountains.

* WHEN...From 6 PM this evening to 6 AM MDT Wednesday.

* IMPACTS...Plan on slippery road conditions. Patchy blowing snow
  could significantly reduce visibility.

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A Little Change Is On The Way

4/23/23 Sunday 7:40 am

A weak shortwave will drift across the forecast area late tonight and tomorrow in advance of a slightly better-organized system arriving late Monday. Unsettled weather will dominate the forecast through Wednesday/Thursday morning. Northern portions of the forecast area (north of Purgatory) will see the best chances of accumulating precipitation, a Winter Weather Advisory may be necessary at or above 9,000 feet.  Somewhere east of the Continental Divide is going to get a lot of snow with this system. Anyone traveling to the Front Range should keep a close eye on the situation.

Here are the latest forecasts for total liquid precipitation through Thursday morning.

GFS

Canadian

European

Here are the snow forecasts for the state through Thursday. The models are not exactly aligned with the track, so when I mentioned it earlier I was not very specific.

GFS

Canadian

Euro

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Tuesday Extended Outlook

Tuesday 4/18/23 4:15 am

Before I get started here are a couple of releases from the NWS.

Hydrologic Outlook
COC067-083-200145-

Hydrologic Outlook
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
741 PM MDT Mon Apr 17 2023

...Increased Flows on the Mancos River Due to Snowmelt...

Snowmelt from above normal/record seasonal snowpack has increased
the flow well above normal for this time of year along the Mancos
River. In addition, warmer temperatures and breezy conditions
through midweek may locally accelerate snowmelt within this river
basin. Colder temperatures arriving in the wake of a system later in
the week will decrease the rate of snowmelt this weekend, providing
some relief to increased flow rates.

Until then, county roadways and low lying areas along the Mancos
River within Montezuma County, may be inundated with water and may
not be passable. Please heed all road closures and find an alternate
route.
$$

MMS

Wind Advisory–everyone’s favorite!

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
214 AM MDT Tue Apr 18 2023

COZ020>022-UTZ022-029-190300-
/O.EXA.KGJT.WI.Y.0008.230418T1500Z-230419T0300Z/
Paradox Valley/Lower Dolores River-
Four Corners/Upper Dolores River-Animas River Basin-
Southeast Utah-Canyonlands/Natural Bridges-
Including the cities of Gateway, Nucla, Cortez, Dove Creek,
Mancos, Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio, Blanding,
Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park,
and Fry Canyon
214 AM MDT Tue Apr 18 2023

...WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM THIS MORNING TO 9 PM MDT
THIS EVENING...

* WHAT...Southwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph
  expected.

* WHERE...In Colorado, Paradox Valley/Lower Dolores River, Four
  Corners/Upper Dolores River and Animas River Basin. In Utah,
  Southeast Utah and Canyonlands/Natural Bridges.

* WHEN...From 9 AM to 9 PM MDT Tuesday.

* IMPACTS...Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree
  limbs could be blown down.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high
profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

People, especially those with respiratory illnesses, heart
disease, the elderly, and children are recommended to stay
indoors and avoid prolonged outdoor exercise or heavy exertion
due to wind-blown dust.

There is just a slight chance of some high-elevation showers popping up this afternoon. On Wednesday there will be a better chance of scattered showers mainly across the higher elevations. Other than that, there has not been, and likely won’t be much to discuss in the near future.

The cool and dry pattern is locked in and will continue for at least 2 to 4 weeks. I had people ask me about the “warm” temperatures we have been experiencing. We had a couple of days above average last week, and the next couple of days will be average to very slightly above, but the longer-term period (7, 14, 30, and 45 days) is expected to be slightly below average.

What is average? This time of year low to mid-60s are average highs for the lower elevation towns and communities.

Here are the long-term temperature forecasts. These are departures from normal for this time of year.

Through May 18

Through June 2nd.

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Thursday Update

4/13/23 Thursday 7:40 am

Cooler, wetter conditions are on the way. Isolated to scattered showers will become more common today, especially in higher elevations. Occasional gusty winds will occur as the pressure gradient tightens as tonight’s storm approaches. Moisture is streaming in from the southwest but the main precipitation producer won’t arrive until this evening.

Snow levels should remain high with this system. For most locations over 9,000 feet, 3 to 6 inches of snow will be common tonight through tomorrow. There may be an upside surprise of 8 to 12 inches on Wolf Creek Pass. Despite the date, those trying to travel over the passes early tomorrow morning will experience winter conditions so keep that in mind.

There may be a bit of a spring mix between 7,400 and 8,000 feet with mostly rain below 7,000 feet. Much cooler temperatures are expected on Friday and Saturday.

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Wednesday Update–Boring Weather Winds Down

4/12/23 Wednesday 7:45 am

Today is a transition day, a pattern change is on the way! Before I get to that here are more pressing matters.

Flood Warning
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
1129 PM MDT Tue Apr 11 2023

COC083-151800-
/O.NEW.KGJT.FA.W.0001.230412T0529Z-230415T1800Z/
/00000.0.SM.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/
Montezuma CO-
1129 PM MDT Tue Apr 11 2023

...FLOOD WARNING FOR SNOWMELT IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON MDT SATURDAY...

* WHAT...Flooding caused by snowmelt is occurring.

* WHERE...A portion of southwest Colorado, including the following
  county, Montezuma, and the town of Dolores.

* WHEN...Until noon MDT Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying
  and flood-prone locations is imminent or occurring. Several
  structures are flooded and some sand bagging operations are
  continuing. Streams continue to rise due to excess runoff from
  snowmelt. Low-water crossings are inundated with water and may not
  be passable. Expect many areas of slow moving or standing water.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...
  - At 1124 PM MDT, emergency management and USGS gages reported
    flooding in the warned area. Flooding is already occurring,
    particularly in the town of Dolores.
  - This includes the following streams and drainages...
    Lost Canyon Creek and Dolores River.
  - Some locations that will experience flooding include...
    Dolores.
  - http://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood
deaths occur in vehicles.

In hilly terrain there are hundreds of low water crossings; do not
attempt to cross flooded roads. Find an alternate route.
Flood Advisory
National Weather Service Grand Junction CO
1148 PM MDT Tue Apr 11 2023

COC083-151800-
/O.NEW.KGJT.FA.Y.0002.230412T0548Z-230415T1800Z/
/00000.N.SM.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/
Montezuma CO-
1148 PM MDT Tue Apr 11 2023

...FLOOD ADVISORY FOR SNOWMELT IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON MDT SATURDAY...

* WHAT...Flooding caused by snowmelt is expected.

* WHERE...A portion of southwest Colorado, including the following
  county, Montezuma, and the town of Mancos.

* WHEN...Until noon MDT Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Minor flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas.
  Rises in small streams and normally dry arroyos. River or stream
  flows are elevated.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...
  - At 1145 PM MDT, gage reports indicated snowmelt. Minor
    flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly in the
    advisory area.
  - Some locations that will experience flooding include...
    Mancos.
  - http://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood
deaths occur in vehicles.

In hilly terrain there are hundreds of low water crossings; do not
attempt to cross flooded roads. Find an alternate route.

&&

If you live in these areas’ more flood-prone locations, you are used to dealing with this. I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this area, So I will pass on the watches and warnings as they arise.

For today, The temperature will moderate slightly, more tomorrow, and significantly by Friday which will slow and in some cases stop the snowmelt across the region. As I have stated I do not expect an extended period of significantly warmer temperatures. Yesterday was warm, and today will be cooler but still above normal, by Friday temperatures should be below normal once again.

There is also some precipitation on the way. Basically, nuisance showers will develop across the area this afternoon. I don’t expect that the precipitation will reach the ground in the lower elevations–if it does it should not be significant.

Meanwhile, a storm to our northwest will split with a portion crossing Montana and Wyoming and another piece dropping into the Central and Northern Mountains. The weakest portion of the storm will arrive late Thursday night into Friday morning.

This will usher in much colder temperatures with sub-advisory snowfall in the mountains and light rain and a rain/snow mix across the lower and mid-elevation areas up to 8,000 feet. I have stored my snow thrower for the year (I finally decided to do it yesterday when I had to turn on the A/C). That will probably increase the chances of an extended winter. We’ll see. As I said, I do not expect any winter advisories with the Friday storm, just be aware that travel could become tricky over the passes on Friday.

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