Saturday (2/1): Mostly sunny, highs in the mid 30s, westerly winds 10-20 mph with gusts to 50 mph.
Sunday (2/2): Sunny, highs in the low 40s, southwesterly winds around 10 mph with gusts to 40 mph.
It’ll be a sunny and warm weekend, and then we’ll have a decent shot of snow on Monday/Tuesday in our first true upslope event in quite some time.
Let’s start with the weekend. Saturday will be warm and mostly sunny. The lows Saturday night will be unseasonably warm (barely dipping below freezing). The highs on Sunday should make it into the low 40s, (with the most optimistic model, the American Model, actually calling for a high of 47 degrees at 9,400). Wow.
Early next week it should snow, quite possibly more than the models are predicting. Winds switch to blowing from the easterly half of the compass on Monday and Tuesday. The Canadian and European Models are calling for 3” during that time and the American Model is calling for 5” during that time. In my experience, the models tend to underestimate these upslope events as their otherwise smart averaging out of multiple nearby grids will lower predictions in places such as our patrol zone that get hammered by these events. So, there’s a good chance we’ll have a greater snow totals than predicted by the models. I’m getting excited by this storm.
But, before you drink the Kool aid and get excited too, there are three important caveats. First, historically upslope events are usually greater in the spring (and fall), not the middle of winter. Second, a slight change in the either the location of the low (north to south) or the speed of the low (after-all, the low is what creates the easterly winds) makes a huge difference in snow totals. Third, the three major models are all calling for more snow in Boulder than Eldora, which means the storm may simply not have the energy to hammer to the west of the Peak-to-Peak highway.
Then Thursday and Friday looks like another shot of snow, with the European Model calling for 10”, the Canadian Model calling for 8”, the American Model is calling for 4”. This system, coming from the northwest, doesn’t have the same positive tell-tale signs as the system earlier in the week (e.g., easterly winds, low pressure to the south of us, etc.) for significant snow in our patrol zone. However, this far out it does look like it’ll be powerful enough to result in at least some snow for our zone (possibly down to Golden/Boulder as well). We’re still looking at a storm that is at the edge of forecast fairyland, so I’ll try to give a better update for the Tuesday morning forecast.
Looking back at my last forecast, as of Tuesday morning I had pretty much no idea how much snow there would be. Eldora ended up getting an inch on Tuesday, and nothing more than a dusting since then. (Interestingly, Winter Park got 4” on Wednesday night, while Loveland and Eldora saw only a dusting.) For our patrol area, the American Model more or less called the snow pattern correctly, while the Canadian and European Models have mud on their face, and the WRF performed even worse than either the Canadian or European Models. This is yet another good lesson not to put too much faith in any one model – even the WRF, which is probably my favorite single model.
If you’re interested in joining me for an Eldora Sidecountry patrol day this Sunday, please reach out to me directly.
-Jordan (Friday morning)
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all forecasts are for 10,000’ in exposed areas. References to American Model are the American (GFS) Model. References to the Canadian Model are the Canadian (GDPS) Model. References to the WRF Model are the CAIC WRF Hi-Res Model. References to the European Model are the European (ECMWF) Model.