Forecast Summary:

Light snow on and off from Wednesday through Saturday. 

Forecast Discussion:

Tricky forecast, so take everything with a grain of salt.  A slow moving system passes mostly to our north from Tuesday through Thursday.  It will likely result in some upslope snow in our backcountry patrol zone, but Wyoming will likely see much more snow than us.  The Canadian Model calls for 7” of snow on Thursday.  The American Model calls for 3” of snow on Wednesday and 4” of snow on Thursday.  The European Model is calling for 3-5”, but sees a continual snow between Thursday and Saturday.  The WRF is calling for 1” on Thursday (which is as far out as it goes).

A weak ridge of high pressure (i.e., warm and no snow) will dominate the weather Friday and maybe Saturday (per American and Canadian models, but not the European model), and then another system looks to go to our north on Saturday and Sunday with some spillover (in the general sense, not the technical sense) producing some snow for us.  Canadian Model calls for 7” between Friday mid-day and Saturday mid-day.  The American Model isn’t calling for anything during that time. 

If you add it up over the next five days, the Canadian Model is calling for some real snow (14”).  But, don’t get too optimistic as the other two models are more pessimistic with 7” and 3-5” totals.

Presumably no snow next Monday.

In forecast fairyland, the American Model and European Model have a closed low next Tuesday / Wednesday.  The American Model though doesn’t show any precipitation.  The Canadian Model also shows no precipitation, but the European Model is calling for 4” during that time.  Beyond next Wednesday there are some more promising systems, but that’s far enough out so we might as well consult a Magic 8-Ball.

Retrospective Discussion:

Friday’s predicted snow was a bust, but let’s at least acknowledge that all three medium term models (European, Canadian, and American) predicted snow a week out, and it did snow a little from Golden to the high country.  There was  0.2” SWE, so figure 2” of snowfall.  WRF and NAM Models did a not too embarrassing job, one a bit too high (NAM) and one a bit too low (WRF).  HRRR and European Models were too high, Canadian Model was way too high, and the American Model’s 10” prediction was just embarrassingly bad.  Sorry that I wrote on Friday that my best guess was with the HRRR and European Model solutions, and not the WRF and the NAM, as the latter two turned out to be more accurate.  Thankfully I didn’t go with the Canadian or American solutions, or I would have been even more embarrassed. 

Since Friday, we’ve had a touch of snow, but the snow has been melting as quick as it’s been falling.  So, the best solution was somewhere between the European and Canadian model solutions, with the WRF and American models being too optimistic.

Stay sane, healthy, and happy my fellow patrollers, and I’ll provide an updated forecast on Friday morning or Thursday afternoon.

-Jordan (Monday evening)

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.