Saturday (1/11): Increasing clouds then light snow, highs in the low 20s, with westerly winds, maybe gusty.
Sunday (1/12): Light snow and cold, with highs in the teens, and westerly winds, maybe gusty.
No major snowfalls over the next week, but we should see an inch here and an inch there of snow in our backcountry patrol zone from now through middle of next week.
We may pick up a couple inches of snow (especially in the locations closer to the Continental Divide) from Wednesday night to Friday mid-day. American (GFS) Model is calling for 1” over the two day period, the CAIC WRF is calling for 1.5”, and the Canadian (GDPS) model is calling for 2.5”. The northern end of our patrol zone should get more snow than the southern end of our patrol zone. While the wind direction (west) is not terribly favorable for our patrol zone, the cold temperatures on Thursday and Friday are conducive to dendritic growth, meaning fluffier snow.
Moving to the weekend, the American (GFS) and Canadian models are both calling for a lull in snow from mid-day Friday to Saturday morning, and then another round of snow Saturday mid-day to Wednesday morning. The Canadian is more bullish with total snowfall from this second system at 6” over the several day period (with 3” between Saturday morning and Sunday evening). The American (GFS) separates out the snow into a Saturday/Sunday portion, and a Tuesday night portion. It has a total of 3” out of the system, with 1” on Saturday/Sunday, and 2” on Tuesday night. The Canadian version places Sunday as the windier of the two weekend days, while the American places Saturday as the windier of the two weekend days.
Looking forward into the crystal ball beyond this time, the American (GFS) Model is calling for another storm next Saturday.
Looking back, as usual I try to look at what my last forecast discussed and predicted versus what actually happened. I heard from many instructors and students that Saturday was very windy at St. Mary’s Glacier for the first day of the Level 1 class. No surprise there. (If it wasn’t for the winds at St. Mary’s, there’d be no St. Mary’s Glacier, which is Colorado’s lowest elevation permanent snowfield / glacier.) The Sunday class in Second Creek, however, saw basically no wind. I only felt winds over 5 mph when actually at the elevation of the Broome Hut, and still the surface winds were not strong at all. As such, it seems that the CAIC WRF Model way overpredicted the winds in the Berthoud Pass region on Sunday. On the other hand, Eldora picked up 3” on Sunday night, which is more consistent with the CAIC WRF prediction of 3.5” than any of the other models. So, the WRF both had the best and worst prediction of the past weekend.
As always, forecasts are for 10,000’ in exposed areas, unless otherwise specified. (I should also note that whenever I refer to the CAIC WRF model in these forecasts, I’m always referring to their Hi-Res model as opposed to their regular model.) I’d love any and all feedback you might have.
-Jordan (Tuesday morning)