Saturday (12/21): Highs in the mid 30s; partly cloudy with westerly winds 10-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

Sunday (12/22): Highs in the upper 30s, possibly even the low 40s; partly cloudy with westerly winds 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.

Forecast Discussion:

For this weekend, it’ll be warm and pleasant.  I’d prefer snowy and cold.

As this weekend is dull, let’s look ahead to the next snow, which still looks set to arrive on Christmas Eve.  While writing the title of this post, I seriously considered calling it “Guesses on Christmas Snow” as opposed to “Thoughts on the Christmas Snow.”  So, let’s start guessing.  A first system moves in from the southwest on late Christmas Eve (which typically is best for our patrol area when it fuels wrap around moisture and easterly winds as the system passes the highest peaks of the continental divide).  However, current model runs (unlike earlier model runs) do not look favorable for much wrap around moisture / easterly winds.  And, from a climate standpoint, this is not the time of year we typically see the large wrap around systems stick around long enough to produce snow.  Darn.  This system looks to die out slowly on Wednesday and Thursday as a second system comes in from the west / northwest.  The second system looks to bring light snowfall from Friday through Sunday.

On our side of the Divide, the Canadian (GDPS) model is calling for 1½” for each system, with a total of 3” between Tuesday and next Sunday, while the American (GFS) model is calling for only an 1” total for both systems.  Ironically, on the other side of the divide (Berthoud Pass), the American ensemble mean average is 7” while the Canadian ensemble mean average is 1”.  So, don’t get your hopes up too much.  Unfortunately for our patrol area, if I was to put money on the winners from these systems, I’d put my money on the areas favored by westerly flow (which is not us).

If you want some hope, there are a few ensemble runs that create a decent closed low, which typically are better snow producers for our backcountry patrol area.  However, only a few model runs reach this solution, so I wouldn’t put money on them being right and all other model runs being wrong.

I will be overseas during the next few forecasts, so apologies if the forecasts aren’t as regular or as lengthy.  And, there’s another issue for me for forecasting from across the ocean.  I struggle enough to convert Greenwich Mean Time (which many weather maps / models use) to Mountain Time, so I can’t imagine having to add a third time zone in my head while pulling together the forecast.  So, pre-apologies.

As always, I look forward to everyone’s thoughts and feedback.

Happy Holidays everyone.

-Jordan (Friday morning)