Forecast Note:

While the country seems to be shutting down in light of COVID-19, the weather is not shutting down, so I plan to continue to put together my patrol forecasts regardless of whether there is any patrolling.  To save time, I’m taking away the weekend forecast, and just providing the forecast summary, forecast discussion, and retrospective discussions. 

Forecast Summary:

Big snow on Thursday, and lingering lighter snow through the weekend.  Hold onto your hats (and be ready for the increased avalanche danger), we’re looking at a big storm.

Forecast Discussion:

A closed low is coming from the southwest and is headed our way.  It should hit our patrol zone on Thursday.  Here are the model forecasts through Friday at 6 am:

24” – WRF Model

16” – NAM Model

12” – Canadian Model

10” – American Model

9” – European Model

The real question is if the upslope will be strong enough to really hammer near the continental divide, or will most of the snow stay between the Peak-to-Peak highway and Highway 93.  Regardless, there’ll be lots of snow in the high-country, and in the Boulder / Golden corridor on Thursday.  If you want my bet, the WRF tends to overpredict snowfall at the edge of its forecasting range, so I think the likeliest solution is in the 8-15” range.  If you want a second opinion, the NWS Boulder Office this morning said they’re going with the European and American solutions, and not the more aggressive NAM solution. 

After the big Thursday dump, the American Model is calling for another 3” on Friday, and another 2” on Monday.  The Canadian Model is calling for another 2” on Saturday and 3” on Sunday.  The European has another 2-4” through the weekend.  So, figure the snow will keep up, but not as heavy, through the weekend.

Thanks for reading, and be safe in the backcountry or at home. 

-Jordan (Tuesday 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.