• Forecast Summary: Pleasant weather for a while.  There’s possibly a big storm late next week. Forecast Discussion: Today light snow remains possible with an inch of snow possible but not likely.  A weak ridge of high pressure (i.e., warmer and sunnier weather) looks to be in store for almost the foreseeable future, as a strong storm hangs out over California without moving inland for a while. When the system does move in to our patrol zone, who knows what will happen.  The American model has it moving inland on Wednesday to Thursday and producing 25” of snow.  (You read that right.)  The Canadian Model doesn’t have it coming in until Friday, with 2.5” on Friday and 1” on Saturday.  The European Model agrees with the Canadian Model on timing (it won’t come in until Friday / Saturday) and is calling for 7” at Eldora.  The European Model is, however, calling for 30” on Pikes Peak.  I think the best conclusions we can draw this far out is there may be a big storm late next week, but when and how big is completely up in the air (no pun intended). Retrospective Discussion: Life is a challenge without the Eldora webcam on their snowstake running.  Snotel data is not terribly reliable, but it looks like there was no real accumulation this week of snow based upon the lack of any real change in SWE (snow water equivalent) at the Lake Eldora Snotel site.  As such, it looks like the WRF Model (with its pessimistic forecast) was the most accurate and the Canadian Model (with its optimistic forecast) was the least accurate for this week so far. Stay sane, healthy, and happy my fellow patrollers. -Jordan (Friday morning) 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.

  • Forecast Summary: Light snow on and off from Wednesday through Saturday.  Forecast Discussion: Tricky forecast, so take everything with a grain of salt.  A slow moving system passes mostly to our north from Tuesday through Thursday.  It will likely result in some upslope snow in our backcountry patrol zone, but Wyoming will likely see much more snow than us.  The Canadian Model calls for 7” of snow on Thursday.  The American Model calls for 3” of snow on Wednesday and 4” of snow on Thursday.  The European Model is calling for 3-5”, but sees a continual snow between Thursday and Saturday.  The WRF is calling for 1” on Thursday (which is as far out as it goes). A weak ridge of high pressure (i.e., warm and no snow) will dominate the weather Friday and maybe Saturday (per American and Canadian models, but not the European model), and then another system looks to go to our north on Saturday and Sunday with some spillover (in the general sense, not the technical sense) producing some snow for us.  Canadian Model calls for 7” between Friday mid-day and Saturday mid-day.  The American Model isn’t calling for anything during that time.  If you add it up over the next five days, the Canadian Model is calling for some real snow (14”).  But, don’t get too optimistic as the other two models are more pessimistic with 7” and 3-5” totals. Presumably no snow next Monday. In forecast fairyland, the American Model and European Model have a closed low next Tuesday / Wednesday.  The American Model though doesn’t show any precipitation.  The Canadian Model also shows no precipitation, but the European Model is calling for 4” during that time.  Beyond next Wednesday there are some more promising systems, but that’s far enough out so we might as well consult a Magic 8-Ball. Retrospective Discussion: Friday’s predicted snow was a bust, but let’s at least acknowledge that all three medium term models (European, Canadian, and American) predicted snow a week out, and it did snow a little from Golden to the high country.  There was  0.2” SWE, so figure 2” of snowfall.  WRF and NAM Models did a not too embarrassing job, one a bit too high (NAM) and one a bit too low (WRF).  HRRR and European Models were too high, Canadian Model was way too high, and the American Model’s 10” prediction was just embarrassingly bad.  Sorry that I wrote on Friday that my best guess was with the HRRR and European Model solutions, and not the WRF and the NAM, as the latter two turned out to be more accurate.  Thankfully I didn’t go with the Canadian or American solutions, or I would have been even more embarrassed.  Since Friday, we’ve had a touch of snow, but the snow has been melting as quick as it’s been falling.  So, the best solution was somewhere between the European and Canadian model solutions, with the WRF and American models being too optimistic. Stay sane, healthy, and happy my fellow patrollers, and I’ll provide an updated forecast on Friday morning or Thursday afternoon. -Jordan (Monday 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.

  • Forecast Note: Between both the fact that my time is becoming rather limited (combination of work and kids at home) and the fact that almost no one is in our patrol zone, I’m scaling back the forecast a bit to only discuss my true passion: snow.  I plan to keep up the snow portion of the forecast regardless of events.  Thanks for understanding.  Forecast Summary: Snow today (3/27), more snow possible Sunday through Tuesday, and snow likely again next Friday to Sunday. Forecast Discussion: A closed low is heading over us today, but unfortunately it is moving too fast towards the Midwest to produce a major event like many of these other closed lows and cutoff lows this time of year.  Models are struggling to predict this one due to its speed and strength.  If I’d have to put money on this one, I’d go with the European Model or HRRR Model.  Here are the various forecasts for today’s snowfall: 10” – American Model 7” – Canadian Model 5” – European Model 4.5” – HRRR Model 3.5” – NAM Model 1” – WRF Model By late Saturday to early Sunday, a ridge of high pressure (i.e, pleasant weather) passes through our area.  Then, the next system may move through that per the American Model has many similar characteristics to today’s system.  The American Model predicts light snow Sunday through Tuesday with a total of 5”.  The WRF Model only forecasts out through Monday morning, but it’s calling for 3.5” on Sunday night.  The European Model is more pessimistic, with only 2” Sunday through Tuesday.  And, the Canadian Model isn’t seeing it at all, and is predicting 0” during that time.  A lull is likely on Wednesday and Thursday. Then more snow out in the forecast fairyland time-frame of next Friday through Sunday.  11” per the American Model, 8” per the European Model, and 3” per the Canadian Model.  It’s strange that the models seem more in line a week out than a few days out. Stay happy and safe during these difficult times. -Jordan (Friday morning) 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.

  • Forecast Summary: Boring until Friday.  Snow on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but not huge snow totals.  Boring after Sunday. Forecast Discussion: We will be sitting under a weak ridge of high pressure through Thursday, with a half inch of snow possible on Wednesday but otherwise pretty boring and pleasant weather.  Things get interesting on Friday with the next system.  (This is the system that I wrote about coming in on Thursday, not Friday, in my post late last week.)  A trough of low pressure passes over us on Friday, generating a cutoff low.  Unfortunately it looks like the cutoff low will leave our area on its way to the Midwest too quickly to produce too much snow.  The snow will likely extend down to the plains.  Here are the model forecasts for our patrol zone for Friday / Saturday: 5.5” – American Model 3” – European Model 1” – Canadian Model Weather turns temporarily pleasant after that system passes, but another weak system passes by on Sunday (1” per the American, European, and Canadian Models).  By early next week, which is practically forecast fairyland, another ridge of high pressure looks to dominate the weather for a few days with very warm temperatures.  Retrospective Discussion: Monday’s snow was on the low end of what I predicted (which was 1-4”), with the Lake Eldora Snotel picking up somewhere between .1 to .2 of SWE (or 1-2” of snow).  -Jordan (Tuesday morning) 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.

  • Forecast Summary: Snow on and off for the next week. Forecast Discussion: Thursday was a great snow day, and we have another inch or two in store for us this afternoon.  Saturday morning will be windy with highs in the low 30s.  Sunday may see some strong gusts with highs upper 20s.  1-4” of snow likely on Monday, and then perhaps a bigger system on Wednesday and Thursday.  For that system, the American Model is calling for 5.5”, the Canadian Model is calling for 7”, and the European Model is calling for 5”.  Retrospective Discussion: With Eldora’s snow-stake webcam down, we have to look to the Snotel sites to figure out the amount of snow.  Joel Gratz reported 12” of snow from his review.  The increase in SWE at the Lake Eldora Station is 1.2”, so if the water content was 12% (my best guess), that gives us 10”.  So, figure we got somewhere between 10-12”.  So, how did the models do? First, it’s amazing that both the European and Canadian models predicted this storm with some accuracy six days out!  (Read two posts ago to see the details.)  Canadian was closest with a 7” prediction, but the fact that basically a week out both were predicting real snow around this time is amazing.  When we look at the Tuesday morning model runs compared to what occurred, the Canadian, American, and European models all did a nice job, while the NAM was a bit too optimistic, and the WRF was way too optimistic.  My best guess on Tuesday was 8-15”, which seems just about spot-on considering we got 10-12”. -Jordan (Friday morning) 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.