Odd Little Thursday Storm

Just a quick update for eastbound 160 travelers.  The models have given more life to this micro event. They show snow picking up on the east side of the pass. It is primarily an odd easterly driven upslope event that may provide 2-4 inches on the west side of the divide toward the top of the pass, but several inches on the east side of the pass perhaps down to Southfork, depending on temperatures. The high-resolution model homes in on this pretty well.

nam-nest-conus-colorado-total_snow_10to1-5278000

Most of the snow will fall in the higher elevations in uninhabited areas southeast of Wolf Creek Pass. So bottom line, you may run into this if you are traveling east today. The model starts this snow right away this morning and tapers off later today. If it happens as forecast, I am sure CDOT will be able to stay up with it.

At 5 am the Ski Resort’s webcams are already showing the snow breaking out, but the CDOT cams show nothing over in Southfork yet.

I am kind of fascinated with it. But as you know, it doesn’t take much with me when it comes to weather.

Thanks for following and supporting the site. Next update this later today.

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Wednesday Update

Before jumping in, here is the snowpack update, looks great, it keeps building!

325table

snowpack325

Yesterday I talked about the mystery system that the Euro and Canadian were showing hitting Wolf Creek tomorrow. The GFS still does not show it, the Euro has backed off a little bit on the latest run. The Canadian is still all in as you can see below. It shows snow starting later today or tonight and this is the total ending late Thursday.

canthursnow

Later runs today may shed some light on this situation. I will update early Thursday morning in the event some folks are going to travel over the pass tomorrow.

Both the Euro and Canadian show some light showers expanding into our area tomorrow afternoon. We will see. Friday the weak system is scheduled to roll in most likely during the afternoon.

The Euro is showing light totals overall, the GFS and Canadian are showing mostly a low to mid-elevation miss. I would like to see a better consensus before reading too much into the most recent model runs.

Here is what the Euro is showing for snow for Friday. Yes, I said snow. At the moment, it looks like snow levels will drop down to 5,000 feet by Friday morning. I will be keeping an eye on that and update accordingly.

ecmwf-deterministic-colorado-total_snow_10to1-5422000

 

So overall, the picture is still a little unclear at this point. Hopefully, the models will give us more to work with by tomorrow.

Thanks for following and supporting the site. Next Update Thursday

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

Model Indecision On End Of Week System

The Euro has been more consistent than the GFS lately. I am leaning towards the Euro and the Canadian for the late week system. They both bring a small piece of energy in Thursday morning, but only over eastern Archuleta, Conejos, Mineral and Rio Grande Counties. It is not insignificant, the models are showing 6-12 inches of snow over Wolf Creek Pass. I assume it is some weird retrograding mini low-pressure system or a shortwave. Regardless, it is not an anomaly, I have seen this feature for days now in the models, just not in the GFS yet.

Then Friday, what looks like a fairly insignificant dry system tries to work its way across Utah in unfavorable flow. It is too early to write off at the moment. I will update on it over the next couple of days and we will see how she develops.

This morning I mentioned that I would discuss the “why”, as in why are these systems all of the sudden coming in weak? My feeling is that we are heading into a large scale pattern change into more tranquil weather. As I have mentioned, sometimes we don’t realize the pattern has changed until after the fact. Stormy patterns start and finish with weak storms. I believe we have begun that transition and it may take a week to see the full effects. In fact, it shows up on the long-range Euro. It is a somewhat seasonal phenomenon around here to have the western ridge pop by April 1st and bring in those winds that everyone just loves (j/k)!

Here is a snapshot of the pattern on Friday from the Euro

ecmwf-deterministic-conus-z500_anom-5332000

This shows the placement of the low-pressure system, the blue indicates the possibility for stormy weather.

Fast forward to next Wednesday, April 1st.

eurowed18

See how quickly the ridge popped up in the west?

Now look at the GFS it is already trying to bring in another trough into the west on April 1st.

gfs-deterministic-conus-z500_anom-5774800

Which is correct? It is debatable right now, but I am keeping an eye on it.

This is the time of year people ask about outdoor vegetation. Overnight tonight and early tomorrow I do expect temperatures in the mid-20s, for what that is worth. I will try to include temps in my daily updates for the anxious gardeners!

Thanks for following and supporting the site. Next Update Wednesday.

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

Tuesday Early Update

Yesterday was a perfect example of how convection plays an important role in enhancing precipitation in weak systems.

My caveat yesterday was that if the precipitation started too late and did not coincide with the convection, the effects would be greatly diminished. The system kept slowing during the day. When it finally showed up we got to see the true colors of the system. The convection started tanking, the jet had already shifted out of position and the system itself was weak, disorganized and dry. This was supposed to be a storm, but yet, the prior two convective events that we had a few days back produced more precipitation and were never referred to as storms before they hit us.

This brings up a whole other topic that I have delved into over the last couple of years. When is a storm, a storm? What makes it a storm? You may remember a time when I kept saying “Sometimes it just snows”.

I started down that path yesterday morning again but edited it out because it really is a case of semantics, Weather Philosophy.  So I tried once again to substitute words like “system” and “piece of energy” and “area of weak low pressure”. Anything but the word storm.

How did we get that way? At the end of the day, I think the answer lies with the weather media. Have we started naming thunderstorms yet? When will that happen? How many boxes of Tide Pods will they sell when Thunderstorm Vesuvius is bearing down on Coffeyville, Kansas? As long as they also run hashtag ads for the Red Cross at the same time and give us a rundown of all the heartwarming Twitter posts from people, I guess it makes it ok…

If you have followed for a while you’ll remember a couple of years ago I started classifying weather events as ” A Storm” and “Not a Storm” storms… It got confusing. So I dropped that and pretty much caved in. The Ski media totally gave in because it is easy to understand, and the readers prefer it. So now you see headlines like “9 Storms Headed This Way This Week!!” So it is an issue I think about. What to do about it? I am not sure. More crap to dwell on in the middle of the night again.

Later today I will dive into the next system and why I think yesterday’s event and the Thursday/Friday event are weaker (except for Wolf Creek).

Thanks for following and supporting the site.  Next Update Tuesday afternoon.

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

Monday Afternoon Update

2 pm

Precipitation is slowly crossing  Utah and Arizona and is beginning to make its way into our area.

Capture

The new high-resolution NAM model still shows CAPE peaking around 6 pm, and it shows the values have increased since the morning model run.

cpe186pm

The same model’s afternoon run increased precipitation overall for the area.

nam-nest-conus-colorado-total_precip_inch-5051200

It is picking up some higher totals but, as I have said in the past, you can’t trust exactly where those heavier bands will show up.

My only concern is that if the precipitation does not widely break out before dark, the convective element will likely be diminished. The models still show the heaviest precipitation will fall before 9 pm.

Ready, set, go! Thanks for following and supporting the site. Next Update Tuesday, time to start looking into the details of the next storm late this week.

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

Monday Afternoon Attention Grabber

Before I jump into the details of the disturbance moving in this afternoon, here are a couple of cloud pictures sent in by followers. First up, Brian Dommer sent this photo in.

IMG_2513

What we have here are lower elevation cumulus clouds, either cumulus mediocris or fractus (I can’t tell from the picture), with cirrus clouds thousands of feet above them.

The next picture was sent by follower Ann.

20200322_193912

These are just some pretty cirrus clouds at sunset.

I love to see what you see and I am always interested in getting reports of the weather that is occurring where you are.

A Busy Late Afternoon And Evening

A disturbance is going to hitch a ride today into our are on the jet stream, which will be screaming overhead most of the day. This piece of energy is going to pass by during a period of high instability with high CAPE values and will act as a possible severe storm creator in our area. The longer the sun is out the quicker the guns will come out. Guns as in thunder and lightning that is.

Here is the jet stream as of 8 am

8amjet

Right out of the southwest at around 140 knots.

Here it is at 2 pm

jet2pm

Here are the CAPE values. In case you haven’t been keeping track, every time I post the  CAPE value output we have gotten thunderstorms in the area.

4 pm

cape4pm

6 pm (when the peak values are present)

cape6pm

The GFS shows the highest precipitation from this system. I am hesitant to post any of the models’ precipitation forecasts because there are so many things that could happen this afternoon. Some areas will cloud up and see nothing, other areas may get a brief downpour or two, and other areas may pick up a quick couple of inches of snow. The snow level should be around 8,000 feet but could temporarily fall during thunderstorms!

Timing

Precipitation will most likely start between Noon and 3 pm. Areas above 9,000 feet may see an earlier start. I will post again around 2 pm today. Thanks for following and continuing to support the site.

Two more prizes were added to the contest, one I mentioned yesterday. The other is brand new. So for 4th place, I will draw for the winner’s choice of either two tickets to San Juan Brew Fest, courtesy of Tim Walsworth and the San Juan Brew Fest or a $50 gift card to Nini’s Taqueria courtesy of the owners Abby and Andy. The 5th place winner will receive the unclaimed prize of the 4th place winner.

If you have not checked it out yet, read the details here: March 18th Contest Update!

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

 

Monday Storm

Yesterday was fun! Short but sweet, but anytime you can get some thundersnow is a great time in my book. Ready for a repeat?

The models for a few days showed that feature coming through yesterday. They didn’t do a great job on timing until about 8 hours before it hit. They didn’t even really sort out what it was. It turns out that it was a small shortwave trough that worked in from West to East in a near squall line type fashion. The high-resolution model paved the way for it showing the uptick in convection. The model missed the mark on the low side of total precipitation.

High CAPE values indicate atmospheric instability which results in convection. The thunder and graupel showed up right on time and in many areas lowered the snow levels with 15-degree temperature drops. This is the beauty of a convective environment.

The models’ CAPE output can warn that the unstable environment may develop. The models aren’t at the point where they can take it to the next level and show when and exactly where these isolated storms will pop up, and how much precipitation will fall in any given area because of the convection.

An area of low pressure will make its way towards our area Monday. Precipitation should start falling after 11 am. At the moment, it looks like the snow levels should hover between 7,700 feet- 8,000 feet. CAPE values are already trending up again for tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday morning the high-resolution model was not predicting .30 inches of liquid in my neighborhood but that is what happened. The convection led to heavy rain and graupel that quickly transitioned to heavy thundersnow. The whole thing start to finish lasted about 90 minutes. There were similar reports all around our area.

What does this have to do with Monday? I am about to show you the liquid-equivalent precipitation outputs for Monday’s little storm. Those totals don’t account for any type of convection that breaks out, which would enhance the totals and lower snow levels. So I would view these more as worst-case scenarios rather than forecasts.

Here is the Canadian

cmcliquid

The Euro

euro6liquid

The GFS

gfs6liquid

And the German

germanliquid

Thanks for the feedback from the other insomniacs regarding my midnight post! Nice to know I am not alone with my malfunction! Next Update Monday morning.

Thanks for following and continuing to support the site. In case you missed it, new prizes have been added to the contest. If you have not checked it out yet, read the details here: March 18th Contest Update!

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

 

 

Bonus Post-I Can’t Sleep Here’s The Weather Junk I Look At When That Happens

Midnight Sunday Morning

Some people are good sleepers, they can almost sleep on command. They can close their eyes and take a nap quicker than I can make a decision to change the channel on the TV during a pharmaceutical commercial. I, on the other hand, go to sleep when I think I am tired, read a few pages in whatever book I am reading at the moment, then turn off the light and go to sleep.

I wake up a couple to a few hours later, look out the window, etc. Then I go back to bed and I either fall back to sleep or not. Lately, it is the latter. My mind gets flooded with thoughts: good, bad, stupid, random. “At least I can sleep later if I want”. “They really should know by now how many positive cases of the virus there are here”. ” I bet if I feed the cat now he won’t bug us later”. “I think I would like to learn more about Quantum Physics”.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I could wake up, check out a few things in the weather then I could head out to the Rec Center by 5 am and join all of the other people who wake up early. That’s all changed, so by 5 am I am now thinking, “remind me again why I sold all of those perfectly good fitness machines I had-for pennies on the dollar at garage sales over the last couple of years?” “That’s it, I am never throwing anything away again!”

Having properly set the stage for my current mental condition, apologies if I overshared… “Did I overshare, maybe I only should have had two lead-in paragraphs…”

Let’s Go Precipitation Hunting

We basically have 10 days to get through March, we have been in a cold wet pattern for a while now, how long can it continue? Here is the Euro ensemble precipitation anomaly forecast. I think it has been a couple of weeks since I posted the last one before we entered this cool wet pattern. What this will show us is the liquid amount of above or below-average precipitation this model is forecasting, in this case through March 30th. This model is made up of 51 separate mini-models all under the umbrella of the European model, this run shows the results of the mean of those 51 mini models.

ecmwf-ensemble-avg-swus-qpf_anom_10day-5612800

From what this model shows the SW US as a whole will remain in a wetter than average pattern through March 30th. Not by a huge margin, but overall all March will go down as much above average precipitation month, which is great, and right when we need it!

How about temperatures? I don’t have a 10-day parameter for that model, but I do have a 7-day output. Here are the average temperatures between noon today and noon next Sunday, March 29th. Average temperatures are calculated as the average “24-hour temperature for the day”. In other words, not just the highs or the lows.

ecmwf-ensemble-avg-swus-t2m_f_anom_7day-5504800

That is pretty cold relative to what the typical 24-hour temperature is for this time of year.

So it appears the pattern continues for 7-10 days.

Hmmm, colder than average, wetter than average, what does that equal?

ecmwf-ensemble-avg-swus-snow_240hr-5612800

Once again this is the Euro 51 member ensemble model. Ensemble models are not always my favorite to look at in the short term. So Let’s look at the operational models.

And now I am going to show you exactly why I don’t always share long term operational model runs until I see consistency. You are going to see how the GFS can change in 6 hours and the Euro and Canadian in 12 hours.

Here is the latest Euro 10-day precipitation run.

euro10day

Euro 12 hours earlier

euro1210day

Canadian current

cmc10day

Canadian 12 hours earlier

cmc1210day

GFS current

gfs10day

GFS just 6 hours earlier!

GFS1810day

Look out how much further south the heavier precipitation is on the 6 hour older GFS run.

So how do you choose? You don’t. That is why I say time after time, there is little consensus, we need to wait a while, I am giving the GFS a timeout, etc. etc.

We will get a little rain and snow Monday, but the majority will be coming sometime Friday or Saturday. By late next weekend, it appears that we will be transitioning into more of a tranquil pattern, again it is too early to tell. But that is what I am watching.

Next Update late Sunday Morning, I will talk more about yesterday afternoon and Monday’s precipitation event. I think I am going to go out in the garage and see if my old weight set is there…

Wait there was one other thing I wanted to update you on. There has been one additional prize added to the contest line up.

1st Prize $250 Gift certificate(s)

2nd Price $150 Gift Certificate(s)

3rd Prize $100 Gift Certificate(s)

4th Prize 2 tickets to San Juan Brewfest (Saturday, August 29th)

If you have not checked it out yet, read the details here: March 18th Contest Update!

Click here and donate for 4 chances to win!

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Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

 

 

Saturday Update

Today

So far the light snow event has been non-existent for lower elevations. Light rain showers have broken out in some areas. Models show an uptick in activity this afternoon, the first parameter showing this is the rapid increase in CAPE values this over the next 1-3 hours. This could lead to isolated heavier showers, and rumble of thunder and perhaps a little graupel falling.

Here are the CAPE values for 2 pm today

Screenshot 2020-03-21 at 12.10.53 PM

The last time we talked about CAPE was March 13th. These values are significantly higher than we experienced then. The higher the value the better the chance of convection.

Not surprisingly, the same model shows that leading into increased rain and snow showers late this afternoon.

Screenshot 2020-03-21 at 12.18.02 PM

The model is showing more of a southern trajectory into Archuleta County, I am not certain it will follow that exact path but we will find out soon enough. The lower resolution models are showing a brief period of heavier snow, late afternoon to early evening above 8,000, feet favoring the northern halves of La Plata and Archuleta Counties.

Sunday should be a good day to continue cleaning up after the storm. Snow slides from my roof have barricaded my front door and buried my grill in the back. I am planning on grilling tomorrow so I have to get that cleaned up. Also, a path to my front porch must be cleared for Amazon deliveries this week (things that I could not buy locally).

Monday’s Storm

Monday’s system is not going to be like what we just experienced. At the moment it looks like a late Monday afternoon start although it may end up being Monday night.

Here are the latest liquid precipitation runs from the Euro, Canadian and GFS models.

First the Euro, it is proudly displaying a “Durango Donut Special”. Unfortunately, this is not an anomalous run, this is the fourth run I have seen it happen.

euro12zpre

Next up the Canadian

cmc12zprecip

And the GFS

gfs12zMon24hr

The big take away is that wet unsettled conditions are likely to continue next week. There is still a chance of a bigger storm later in the week. In fact, that is what I am focusing on right now, but I don’t plan to write about it until Tuesday.

Next update Sunday, I will take a better look and rain/snow levels and timing for Monday. Thanks for following and supporting the site.

New prizes have been added to the contest! It is better for entrants, and even better for local businesses! If you have not checked it out yet, read the details here: March 18th Contest Update!

Click here and donate for 3 chances to win!

Click here to contact

Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!

Light Snow Event SaturdayAnd Update On Our Snowpack

Saturday

For such a light snow event it probably seems like I am spending a lot of energy on it. Perhaps that is true, we will have to wait and see. In the past, I have noticed that these events at times outperform the models.

The problem is that the models do not always accurately factor the lift that can develop in this small upslope region coming up from New Mexico. Combine that with a fairly saturated atmosphere leftover from the previous storm and a relatively heavy snow cover that is sitting on many areas south of Highway 160 and it could lead to higher than anticipated snowfall. I have seen these little harmless systems come up looking like they could drop 1-2 inches of snow and then hit Long Hollow at 7,500′ (SW of Trappers Crossing on 141) and find a way to squeeze out 6-8 inches. I am not necessarily forecasting that, but it will be interesting if that happens.

Snowpack Looks Great!

Here are the latest numbers after the storm.

Category320

320snowpackdata

And here is a side by side comparison before the storm and after the storm.

categorygeneric categorygeneric

316SNOWPACKDATA320snowpackdata

Hopefully, between the three tables, you can see the major improvement-what bad winter?

Tomorrow I am going to head into the Rabbit Hole and try to put the pieces together for next week’s storm.

Thanks for following and supporting the site!

New prizes have been added to the contest! It is better for entrants, and even better for local businesses! If you have not checked it out yet, read the details here: March 18th Contest Update!

Click here and donate for 3 chances to win!

Click here to contact

Troubleshooting PayPal: PayPal is one of the leading global payment systems in the world, it is owned by eBay. People very rarely report to me that they are having problems donating, but when they do, it is usually between 6-8 am and 6-8 pm on weekdays. My suspicion is that this is due to increased global traffic for online bill pay, and online shopping (especially with the uptick in online shopping due to the virus). I am sorry for any problems this has caused you and please try again. Thank you!