Forecasting that it’s going to be windy in our patrol zone is like forecasting it’s going to be hot in the Sahara.  The forecast will almost always be correct, but it is hardly an interesting or informative forecast.  So, I rarely give winds much of a mention in these forecasts.  Plus, although wind is undoubtedly a major player in both snow quality and avalanche risk, I personally find wind forecasts much less interesting than I find snow forecasts. 

In spite of all of this, I should note that this week looks to be particularly windy in our patrol zone.  So, you’ve been warned.  Now, let’s move on to snowfall and storms, which I find much more interesting.

A large closed low is forming over British Columbia and will meander towards the Great Lakes as this week progresses.  We’re at the very edge of the system, so we’re likely to pick up a little snow on Tuesday (potentially supported by a strong jet streak overhead).  Nothing to write home about in terms of snow totals, and the model predictions for our patrol zone are as follows:    

8” – Canadian Model

5” – WRF Model

4” – American Model

3” – European and UK Met Models

A little snow (an inch or less) may fall on Wednesday as well, and Wednesday looks to be the coldest day of the week.  With westerly winds at 40 mph with gusts to 80 mph per the WRF Model on Wednesday, I assume most of the snow that falls on Tuesday will get blown to Kansas.

Then, there will be a slow and steady temperature warm-up through the weekend.  A small system may pass by us on Sunday, with the Canadian Model calling for only a dusting while the American Model is calling for 2”. 

Gazing into forecast fairyland, the next possible system looks to be around Tuesday (4/12), Wednesday (4/13), and/or Thursday (4/14).  The Canadian Model is calling for 6” out of that system while the American Model is calling for 5” out of that system.

Oh, and did I mention it will be really windy this week?  If I didn’t, it will be really windy.

Retrospective Discussion:

The Sunday / Monday system was a total bust.  We got skunked.  Maybe a ½” showed up on the Eldora Snowstake Camera, and it melted off so quick as to barely be noticeable.  The foot forecast by the Canadian Model obviously proved to be laughable, and the American and UK Met Model forecasts of 7” and 5” respectively were still wildly optimistic.  Only the 1” European Model forecast was in the range.

Ironically, the models called the whiff of snow we got on Friday (Eldora reported 1”) either accurately or under-forecasted it.  I would have never guessed that Friday would be the “bigger” storm between the two.

Let’s hope the models start underpredicting as opposed to overpredicting snowfall.  After all, April is typically our best snow month in the patrol zone.


-Jordan (Monday (4/4) 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.