We’re currently under a ridge of high pressure, which means pleasant weather, but it won’t last long.  Unfortunately, both weekend days look to bring wind and light snow – perhaps a trace to an inch (though the WRF Model, unlike the others, is predicting a bit of real snow, i.e., 3”). 

Then, in a rather odd pattern, a low pressure system currently at the border of Idaho, Nevada, and Utah moves southwest, and then northwest to impact our patrol zone, predominantly on Sunday into Monday.  Here are the model forecasts for the storm:

5” – Canadian Model

4” – American Model

2” – European Model

Quickly on its heels is a system from the northwest, which looks to hit our patrol zone around Tuesday, with another system on Wednesday/Thursday also from the west northwest.  But my description suggests the global models actually have an idea of what’s going to happen, which they don’t agree upon at all.  Model predictions for snowfall totals from these two systems are:

5” – European Model

1” –  Canadian Model

Trace – American Model

C’mon snow!

Retrospective Discussion:

We are having a good season so far.  The three Snotels in our patrol zone are reporting that as of today, we’re at 135%, 134%, and 106% of average, respectively.  The most recent storm is yet more proof of the good season.  The Eldora Snow Stake Cam showed 9” from the most recent storm, so two days out, although all models underpredicted the storm.  The WRF did the best job and was very close, the Canadian Model did the second best, and the NAM and UK Met Models did the worst.  Looking at the model forecasts five days out, all the global models bungled the type of storm and how it would move through, but the Canadian Model predicted the total snowfall quite accurately, while the European Model predicted half the storm, and the American Model predicted one third of the storm.  The moral from last year and this year so far is that if you’re going to check only one model for our patrol zone in predicting snow, check the Canadian Model.

-Jordan (Thursday 1/29/23 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.