We’re in for a week of bitter cold and snow (with the heaviest snow likely on Tuesday).  It’s a complicated forecast, and scroll down to the model forecasts if you want to skip my pontificating.

While typically the colder it gets, the better powder we can expect as cold temperatures drive snow crystal dendrite growth, it sometimes can get too cold for good dendrite growth.  So, with the frigid temperatures this week, an open question is whether we’ll be in the Goldilocks zone for snow production, or if it will be too cold.  We’ll just have to see.

Further complicating the picture are four additional factors.  First, this storm seems to have two waves right on top of each other.  The first one from the north and the second from the west.  Second, both rounds look to have surface low pressure systems, whose precise location may have a major impact on wind direction / speed (and thus snow).  Third, there is a notorious unreliable (but often positive) jet streak component to snow production that may occur at this time.  Fourth, the WRF Model which is usually more optimistic (and often the most accurate for our patrol zone) model is the most pessimistic model of the seven models I looked at for this system.

So, just like Harry Truman asked for a one-armed economist, you’re probably wishing I’d stop equivocating on what we’ll see this week and get to the point.  Well, here are the medium term global model snow forecasts for our patrol zone from Monday afternoon to Friday:

11” – UK Met Model

9” – European Model

8” – Canadian and American Models

And here are the shorter term regional model snow forecasts for our patrol zone from Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon:

8” – RDPS Model

7” – NAM Model

5” – WRF Model

So, roughly looking at half a foot to a foot total from this system – but don’t be surprised if it either overperforms or underperforms. 

Temperatures should then return to normal by Sunday.   


-Jordan (Monday (2/21) 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.