Saturday (1/4): Partly cloudy with a high in the mid 30s, westerly winds 10-15 mph with gusts to 50 mph.

Sunday (1/5): Partly cloudy with a high in the upper 20s, westerly winds in the 10-20 mph range with gusts to 30 mph.

Forecast Discussion:

There will be a break in the snow this weekend.  Boo!  A small system passes to our north Saturday night, which may bring light snow but don’t expect any actual accumulation.  Sunday night into Monday another system comes into our backcountry zone from the northwest.  American (GFS) Model and the NAM Model are calling for 1.5”, the Canadian (GDPS) Model is calling for 2”, and the CAIC WRF calling for 3.5” by Monday afternoon.

With the Level 1 Avalanche Class this weekend, I’d figure I’d add into the forecast discussion those locations.  St. Mary’s Glacier region sees the same snow patterns as the southern reaches of our backcountry patrol zone, so the forecast for Saturday should work for there as well.  For Sunday at Second Creek, the Berthoud Pass region sees very different snow patterns than our backcountry patrol zone – with more total snow, and the best orographic lifting when the winds are from the northwest as opposed to the southeast (which is best for our backcountry patrol zone).  Unfortunately, with no real snow forecasted until Sunday night, Second Creek weather on Sunday will be like our patrol zone except probably a little colder.  The CAIC WRF is predicting higher winds in the Berthoud Pass area, but frankly, I don’t believe that.

Looking back, the Wednesday snow came in bigger than predicted by all the model runs that I checked Monday afternoon.  It’s always great to see more snow!  Our patrol area picked up 2-5”, and I’d venture to guess it was closer to 10” a the very top of the Continental Divide.  For what it’s worth, the Canadian Model was the first one to predict more than an inch of snow.  Considering the Canadian Model’s underperformance in the last few systems, it’s nice to see it got this forecast better than the other models.

Looking forward, another system comes in Thursday to Friday from the northwest.  It doesn’t look that promising, but that system is nearly a week out so who knows what’ll happen.   The American (GFS) has a much more significant storm coming in on Monday January 19, but that’s way out in forecast fairyland. 

As always, unless otherwise noted the temperatures and winds are for 10,000’ in exposed areas.  And, I always appreciate hearing your feedback and observations.

-Jordan (Friday morning)