Winter Never Ends

7 am

As one system departs another is on the way, then another, then another. Occasionally I like to share the AFD (Area Forecast Discussion) from the National Weather Service. At times it is too geeky to share I say that based upon feedback from followers, other times it is just about right and does a good job of communicating the situation. Keep in mind, the AFD is written for other weather forecasters or Meteorologists to read. Here is what they said for the long term (through Friday).

.LONG TERM…(Sunday night through Friday)
Issued at 407 AM MDT Sat May 18, 2019

Troughs in the West are going to need to start paying rent as they
are in for the long haul. There seems to be an endless supply of
high latitude energy available to kick out then replace systems
over the Intermountain West over the next 10 days. Large scale
global patterns have been responsible for this long wave pattern.
Western Hemisphere tropical circulation phases also indicate
conditions favorable for driving the AR to the Central Coast of

Ensemble forecasts still favor a weak to moderate AR arriving to
California by tomorrow and the remnant moisture aiding our
precipitation pattern by late weekend into early next week. Model
trends continue to pick out this time period for another decent
shot of precipitation to our CWA. There is cold air embedded with
these systems and appears snow levels likely to drop again to 7K
level with impacts during the overnight hours. Climate outlooks
are coming true with cooler and wetter conditions likely to
dominate the remaining part of May. This should slow down the
snowmelt but will be monitoring snow…precipitation and river

On Sunday night the next closed upper low will be on our door
step and the models are suggesting that it will evolve similar to
the one currently passing overhead. Shortwave energy lifting
through followed by the trough axis will keep precip chances
around through Monday night. Even the post trough air mass will be
moist enough to result in terrain-driven convection Tuesday afternoon.

Things get complicated around mid-week with multiple shortwaves
potentially rotating around the low and the kicker right on its
heels. It will likely lead to several waves of precipitation with
breaks in between and temperatures that are cool enough for snow
in the high country Monday through Thursday.

Translation, stormy pattern ahead for us as I have been talking about. What about Memorial Day Weekend you ask? At the moment, it looks dry on Saturday the 25th, but the models diverge after that, of course, I will be keeping an eye on that all week.

As far as the extended period goes, here is the temperature outlook between now and July 1st, note the temperature anomalies are in Celsius.


This would be between 4-6 degrees (F) below average. Enjoy the day, the next system could start to move in as early as Sunday afternoon.


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1;30 pm

Some dry air has snuck in, maybe temporarily as moisture is easily seen to the west of the dry slot.

Screenshot 2019-05-17 at 1.50.43 PM.png

Also, most areas got about a half an inch of rain, with the sun coming out we could see a bit of convection trigger this afternoon. As the dry air passes the moisture and precipitation currently firing from Vegas to Cedar City should move into our area (after dark). Bottom line, I would not count this out, also I expect some pop-up showers throughout the weekend before a bigger system comes through Monday.


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Quick Look At Storm 1 And Snowpack Update!

1 pm Thursday

Today has been more about overcast than showers, moisture has been slow to move in but a quick look at the colored water vapor imagery shows that moisture (green) is moving into the area.


The models have been pretty consistent in bringing the main push of rain and snow into the area between 6 am and noon tomorrow.

Here is the Euro prediction for precipitation type at 9 am Friday morning. Blue is snow, green is rain, the darker the shade the heavier the precip.

Screenshot 2019-05-16 at 2.30.13 PM

According to the GFS snow level are down to 8,000 feet and lower in the stronger cells.

At noon, you can see that the Euro thinks snow levels will drop further.

Screenshot 2019-05-16 at 2.30.42 PM

It will be interesting to see where the heaviest snow falls. Tomorrow morning I will post the morning HiRes short term model run so we can see what it thinks, it should be out by around 8:00 am.

There are still some discrepancies between the model on how much snow will fall not only with tomorrows storm but with the next storm, as well as its arrival time.

Most of the snow level guidance has been too high this spring. This storm has brought heavy snow to the Sierra which has had an incredible amount of snow this year. The snow levels is northern California were down to 5,000 feet, in Central California they were down to 6,500 feet, at 1 pm Mammoth Mountain was 23 degrees at 8,900 feet. Mammoth Mountain is expected to be open until July 7th this year, potentially later. Here is their snow report.


Regardless of how these two storms produce what an incredible winter for us. I have not talked about snowpack lately. Looking at the latest snowpack totals it is incredible most notably for Vallecito.



The normal median peak for Vallecito snotel is 16 inches of snow-water (liquid equivalent) and usually occurs April 7th. The average depth for May 16 is 3.8 inches SWE. As of last night, the current SWE is 16.3 inches!

Another way to put it, usually the peak amount of liquid precip to drain into the lake out of snowpack is 16 inches which usually is at peak on April 7th. Normally by May 15th, there are only 3.8 inches of liquid still to drain, this year there is still 16.3 inches (so far) ready to drain in. If you look at the chart there are many other exciting totals on there.

Tomorrow morning I will take a closer look at totals for this first storm.

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Today’s Showers

8:30 am


If you were surprised by the thunderstorm yesterday you did not read my post. The storm cell that popped up north of Durango formed just after 3 pm, within my 3-5 pm target. Today the focus should be from Hermosa to the north between 1-3 pm. This does not mean that other areas won’t get a shower pop up, especially over the area that got some rain yesterday. It just means the best chances will be further north today. Warmer temps could contribute to storm cell development, lower elevations should reach the mid 70’s with 80 degrees possible in low Montezuma County and northern New Mexico.

Enjoy it, big changes are coming for the end of the week.


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What Do May Showers Bring?


Hopefully, everyone had a nice weekend. There is no change to my thinking that we will continue to see showers on and off with a better chance of a more organized storm later this week. For today, I would expect a few showers to pop up between 3-5 pm.

I am starting to get some questions regarding the Arizona Monsoon. Longtime followers know my reluctance to label our rainy season the Monsoon, I don’t like debating it. Obviously, we get more rain during  Arizona and New Mexico’s Monsoon season. The “Monsoon Experts” still debate when it actually starts. The commonly accepted process is to say that it starts on June 15th.  The technical explanation is that it occurs after a period of several days when the dewpoint in Tucson exceeds 65 degrees. All of that being said the question that people want to know is what do I expect for the Monsoon season this year.

While I do not know what to expect specifically from the Monsoon, I do expect the wet conditions to continue for us. The Euro 46 day once again shows below average temperatures and above average precipitation through mid-June.

Here is the temperature outlook through June 23rd


Here is the precipitation forecast for the same time period.




Historically, it takes until July 1st-20th or so for our rainy season to start. With our above average rain prior to the start of our rainy season, the soil will be wetter which helps facilitate convection (thunderstorms etc.) Because the precipitation is forecast to be just slightly above average, the soil will be in better shape for absorption. Last year the soils were dry and hard and the few showers we got had a difficult time absorbing and would run off and provide very little benefit. Think of a sponge, if a sponge dries out for several days and you spill on a counter and try to clean it up with the dry shriveled up sponge it won’t work. However, if you have a sponge that is just slightly wet it will absorb the spill. Of course, if the sponge is completely saturated it won’t work either. What I am getting at is I think we will be in excellent shape to take advantage of the rainy season when it decides to show up.

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Mother’s Day Forecast? Good Question


I have gotten a number of questions about the forecast for Mother’s day. For the most part, the models differ at this point. They are now trending towards fewer showers, the Euro has Durango in the mid to upper 60’s, which is encouraging.

I don’t see an extended period of dry warm weather, before the 20th or so. Not that we won’t have a few sunny days here or there, but when you compare it to years where we had literally weeks of cloud-free skies in the late spring, this is chilly. But we are such wimps when it comes to rain and cold here.

This is the third afternoon in a row that there have been snow showers at Purg, they are a little lighter today than yesterday, but the 9k ft snow level still surprises me. This morning the snow level briefly went to 7,400 ft.  These on and off showers should continue through Saturday, as I said Sunday is up in the air at this point, but it is trending towards a little nicer weather until late Monday or Tuesday when the showers return with a more organized storm coming in at the end of the week.

It is probably too early to talk about Memorial Day weekend, but I am going to anyway because but, the GFS is, of course, trying to bring in a big storm, especially on Saturday, May 25th (Iron Horse). It is rare for the GFS  to be 100% accurate 15 days out but I have seen it be pretty close numerous times, I am going to put it on my radar and start tracking it.

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 1.16.38 PM

The blue here is snow, the green is rain and everything southwest of the 552 line is snow down to 8,000 ft!

So outdoor enthusiasts wait to worry,  I will keep you updated as we get closer.


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A Quick Update

7 am

As I have mentioned a zillion times the models tend to bring in stormy weather too quickly. This is the case once again. Here is the current surface map.


If you remember the surface map from a couple of days ago this should look familiar, you can see the stationary front is still in place but slowly retrograding west and south.

For reference here is what it looked like two days ago when I mention the dry line and the severe weather outbreak, I also talked about how the stalled front would retrograde to the west which it is doing.

May 6th surface


Comparing the two you can also see the low-pressure systems to the west have barely moved.

Here is the current colored water vapor imagery you see that we are straddled on a dry island with moisture (green) to our west and to our east.


Remember this is not going to be a one and done event, we are evolving into a wet pattern, there will be breaks in the precipitation but overall more rain and snow than sun and warmth for at least 7-10 days, maybe more…In fact, some of the models are showing some snow below 8,000 feet late next week.


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A Week Or So Of Unsettled Weather

1 pm

Nothing much has changed, the new model runs are showing an extended period (through the weekend at least) of unsettled weather. That means rain with snow levels at times flirting with 8,000 feet but quickly rising to between 9,000 then 10,000 feet + during the day. All said and done it looks like a tremendous precipitation event. The GFS has been very crazy with amounts lately (the last few days). Here was this morning’s run for the next 7 days.


If this was the only run like this, I wouldn’t bother sharing it, however, it has been like this since the weekend.

As far as snow goes the total accumulations would only be valid above 11,000 feet. But check these out.


This is impressive!

The Euro has also been consistent, however, it has been consistently lower with the amounts.

Here was the Euro this morning for liquid over the next week.


Here is the snow


Interesting to note that the NAM model has as much and more than the Euro- and that is only through Friday afternoon! So the American models are much more aggressive. I have not been posting a lot over the last month, but the usually accurate Euro has been struggling more than usual. It will be interesting to see how this whole thing works out, but we definitely have much above average rainfall coming even according to the Euro.

Here is an interesting graphic showing 350%-750% of average precipitation for the of the tri-county area, and Northern New Mexico which needs it more than us. As I said this is based on the Euro’s lower totals.

ecmwf_qpf_120p_colorado_28 (1).png

I will be posting at least every day and more if severe weather dictates it, so stay tuned!


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