Saturday (2/15): Partly cloudy, highs in the mid-20s, westerly winds of 10-20 mph, gusts to 50 mph.

Sunday (2/16): Partly cloudy, possible snow, highs in the mid-30s, southwesterly winds of 10 mph, gusts to 40 mph.

Forecast Discussion:

The last seven days have been incredible.  3-4 feet of snow in our backcountry patrol zone.  The next week probably won’t bring such big totals, but there is snow in our future. 

A small system is in store for Wednesday / Thursday.  The WRF Model is the most optimistic model on this system with 4½” of snow forecasted.  The Canadian Model and American Models are both predicting 2.5”, and the European Model is predicting 1”. 

Then, a system sweeps past us to the north on Saturday, which may bring a touch of snow early on Saturday.  The next significant system moves in either on either on Sunday (per the European Model), Monday (per the American Model), or not at all (per the Canadian Model).  Here are the model forecasts as of now for this President’s Day system: 8” per the American Model, 5” per the European Model, 1” per the Canadian Model.  Let’s hope the American Model is calling it better, as the American Model has all the ingredients for a decent storm except staying power, i.e., the storm has both easterly winds and lots of moisture.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Back to this weekend.  The American Model has clearing weather on Saturday and calls for a sunny Sunday until Sunday night when the President’s Day system begins to approach.  The Canadian Model, on the other hand, calls for both days to be partly cloudy, and the Monday system to not be significant.  At least both models agree on temperatures and winds.  The European Model, however, brings the storm in on Sunday.

Looking back, I did an entire post on the differences between the predictions for the Thursday to Saturday storm and what actually happened.  So, let’s just take a look at the Saturday night to Sunday night storm.  Eldora reported 10” – which doesn’t sound unreasonable as skiing the south side of Bryan Mountain seemed like about 6” fresh around 12:30 pm Saturday, and it was still snowing significantly at that time.  How did the various models do?  The WRF Model did a pretty good job of predicting 7”, i.e., 70% of the reported total.  The Canadian Model’s prediction of 5” (i.e., 50% of the reported total) wasn’t exactly good, but the other model’s predictions (3” per European Model, 2.5” per American Model, and 2” per NAM Model) were atrocious.  For what it’s worth, it was also significantly warmer on Sunday than predicted – highs in the low 20s as opposed to about 10 degrees.  Roughly 2½” of snow fell Monday night, which was in line with model forecasts.

Thinks snow!

-Jordan (Tuesday afternoon)

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.