A powerful storm continues mostly to the west of our patrol zone.  The models tend to agree that we’ll get some snow tonight/tomorrow (1-4”), and some snow again on Friday (2-4”), but they disagree whether this system will produce much snow during the interim.  Optimistically we could see up to a foot of snow during this time, and pessimistically we could see only a couple of inches.  Here are the details:

For Monday evening to Tuesday morning, below are the various model forecasts for our patrol zone:

4” – European Model

3” – WRF Model

2” – Canadian and UKMet Models

1” – American Model

Then, for the next several days, some models are predicting that we’ll actually get some more snow, while other models are indicating it’ll just be a dusting to one inch.  Here are the various model snow forecasts for our patrol zone from Tuesday afternoon to Friday morning:

5” – Canadian Model

3” – European and UK Met Models

½” – American Model

½” – WRF Model (though Thursday afternoon)

Friday (New Years Eve) and Saturday morning (New Years Day) brings the possibility for a “Colorado low” to hit our patrol zone.  This means upslope potential.  However, the easterly winds look to be weak enough to not bring a major upslope snowfall.  This is rather common for this time of year.  Nevertheless, as this system gets closer, let’s keep our eyes on it as sometimes mid-winter (and often mid-spring) they can be large snow producers.  Here are the model snow predictions for our patrol zone for Friday afternoon to Saturday morning:

4” – American Model

3” – European Model

2” – Canadian and UK Met Models

Starting late Saturday January 1 we’ll be under a ridge of high pressure for a few days, with the next shot of snow around Wednesday January 5.

Retrospective Discussion:

The Christmas-Eve storm produced roughly 10” at Eldora (specifically, 6.5” fell at the Eldora Snowstake Cam as of my forecast at 10 am on Christmas-Eve with an additional 3” after that), and 12” at Brainerd per Bear.   So, 8 days out, the European Model did an extraordinary job of predicting this storm – calling for 7” one day off of the storm day.  For 8 days out, practically in forecast fairyland, getting close the timing and size of the storm is impressive.  The Canadian and American models also predicted the storm 8 days out, but both called it significantly smaller than what ultimately arrived.  Two days before the storm, the European and Canadian Models’ predictions were spot-on, with the WRF a little too low, the UK Met even more low, and the American model predicted only an embarrassingly small 2” of snow compared to the roughly 10” that fell.  Once into the storm itself, the American and Canadian models did the best job predicting the second-half of the storm snow, while the WRF model was sadly way too optimistic.

The Sunday/Monday system produced 6” per Eldora’s snow report (sadly their Snowstake Cam background is broken so I couldn’t verify this number).  So, the WRF model did a fantastic job on this system, the European model was low, and the American and Canadian models were very low.

Happy Holidays!

-Jordan (Monday (12/27) 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.