We have another low pressure system looking to impact our patrol zone on Tuesday, but unlike the last one, this one is much weaker.  Most models (Canadian, WRF, European) are only predicting an inch or so, with the American on the high side calling for 2” on Tuesday and 1” on Wednesday.

After Wednesday, we’ll be under a ridge of high pressure for a while, so some nice sun and pleasant weather, especially later this week. 

The next storm looks to role in on Sunday (3/21), and it looks interesting.  Per the American Model, it’s coming in from the northwest, but it’s also getting some moisture streaming in from the southwest, and may get a boost from a jet streak, and there may be a bit of an upslope component.  While that all sounds very promising, the total forecasted amounts don’t look as promising as the various pieces of the storm would seem when you add them all up.  Let’s keep our eyes on this one nevertheless.  Here are the Saturday/Sunday (3/21-22) model snow forecasts for our patrol zone:

American Model: 8”

Canadian Model: 7”

European Model: 6”

After the Sunday system, the Canadian Model is calling for decent amounts of additional snow into forecast fairyland, and the American and European Models are calling for just a touch more snow into forecast fairyland.

Retrospective Discussion:

The cut-off low storm produced 2 feet at both Eldora (approximately 24”) and my house in Golden (approximately 23”).  So the award for best and (arguably) worst model for predicting the storm is definitively the American Model.  It predicted the general pattern of the storm 9 days out – although it predicted it coming in a couple days earlier and being a bit smaller (15”), that’s still an incredible prediction from out in forecast fairyland.  It was predicting a storm that hadn’t yet even begun to form, wouldn’t for a while, and yet did a decent job predicting it.  That’s amazing.  However, it’s 50-80” predictions as the storm got closer timing wise were obviously comically high, but in fairness other models were comically low. 

The European, Canadian, RDPS, and NAM models consistently underpredicted the storm by half only a few days out.  The Canadian Model underpredicted the storm 4 fold a mere four days out.  While the UK Met model started completely underpredicting the storm, as the storm got closer it did the best of any of the models on its predictions for our patrol zone (but not my house – than honor goes to the European Model with the RDPS Model close behind).  These closed lows (and their sister cut-off lows) are really tricky to predict.

Regardless of the above details, this was a great storm that delivered much needed snow to our patrol zone and the front range.  Let’s hope we get more of these as the late winter / early spring progress.  It’ll be very helpful for some great spring and summer skiing down the road.  Cheers everyone.

-Jordan (Monday 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.