Saturday (12/14): Snow, with westly winds in the 10 mph range with a few gusts calming later in the day. Highs in the upper teens.
Sunday (12/15): Snow, with calm winds earlier in the day moving back to westerly by afternoon. Highs in the low teens.
Here comes the snow, but the details are still vague if promising. Certainly, a storm will hit our patrol region from Friday through Sunday. The American GFS’s last few runs have been calling for roughly a foot of snow; and the current run is calling for snow from Friday early morning through early Sunday night. The Canadian (GDPS) model over the last few runs has been a bit more pessimistic, with a storm total of a half a foot in the southern part of our zone (and mostly coming on Sunday), while at least close to a foot in the northern part of our zone.
At the nearby Berthoud Pass (which will get higher amounts of snow on average from this type of storm than anywhere in our patrol area except for right at the top of the Continental Divide, think Rogers Pass), the Canadian ensemble runs put the storm totals from a lowest of 2” to a highest of 18”, while the American ensemble run puts the storm totals from a lowest of 12” to a highest of 38” (though don’t get your hopes up for a 38” storm at Berthoud as the American average between the ensembles is 18”).
The CAIC WRF model only goes out 3 ½ days, but it’s already calling for 8” at Eldora by mid-day Friday. If you believe the CAIC WRF Model, and extrapolate out with the American (GFS) model and ensemble runs, it could be a pretty big storm. On the other hand, this storm does not have the elements of the upslope storms that are the biggest snow producers for our patrol area. Let’s be patient, and I’ll update the forecast later in the week.
Looking past this weekend, early next week will be dry, with the American (GFS) Model calling for snow to return from mid-next week through the weekend. That snowy pattern looks promising for our patrol area, but that’s out in forecast fairyland territory, so don’t hold your breath.
Looking back, the models and I underpredicted the snowfall in the past Sunday / Monday storm. Eldora ended up reporting 7-8” – a pleasant surprise. Interestingly, only the CAIC WRF, with its prediction of 5”, was anywhere close to the actual snowfall. Switching to this past Saturday, per my car’s thermometer, the high at the Caribou trailhead was 36 degrees, which was consistent with the forecast. It was very windy at Caribou, but not having an anemometer (i.e. wind gauge) on my car, my guess is just that the steady winds were in the 10-20 mph range, but the gusts were above 50 mph.
As always, remember the temperature / wind forecasts are for 10,000’ and exposed terrain. I’d love your observations and feedback.
-Jordan (Tuesday morning)