Annnddddd....it's go time!
After spending a good 90 minutes looking at all the latest model data this morning, I'm confident that winter storm Obamney will behave about as forecast and I don't have any major updates though I did make a few tweaks to the forecast. Let's talk more about the storm, and then keep reading as I linked in some interesting videos below.
On Thursday night a few inches of snow fell in the southern San Juans (as forecast) and a few snow showers made it further north to put down a coating on Monarch Pass and Independence Pass. No big surprises here.
Today, Friday, the main story will be continued light to moderate snow in the southern San Juans. Keep an eye on the Wolf Creek webcam here. With a moist southwest wind these mountains will be favored but without any additional energy from the jet stream, the steadier snow won't be able to make it further north. But don't worry because that's going to change tonight!
The heaviest snow will fall on Friday night with rates of 1-3 inches per hour as the cold front comes through. The San Juans will get clobbered with 12+ inches over night, and with the jet stream moving right over the state, a band of heavy snow will develop for almost all mountains. This heavy snow band will move through Steamboat around 10pm-midnight, Crested Butte/Aspen/Vail between about 1am-4am, and will hit Summit county and the continental divide between about 5am and 9am. Of course these times could change by an hour or two in either direction, but this should give you a general feel of when you'll see the heaviest snow. I tried to reflect this in my snow forecast, but especially for Summit county and nearby areas, the heaviest snow may straddle the "Friday night" and "Saturday" time period so realize this as you're looking at the exact forecast. The snow that comes from this band will start on the thick and heavy side and transition to colder and fluffier flakes.
Saturday will be a bit of a lull but a few inches should still fall in off-and-on snow squalls. Enjoy making turns on Saturday:-)
On Saturday night and Sunday morning, a second cold front will come through which will kick off another period of snow, mostly for areas from Aspen and north and also for Telluride and Silverton, which do well in northwest flow. There won't be a lot of moisture left, but what moisture is still in the air will efficiently turn into snow so expect another 2-4 fluffy inches from late Saturday night through Sunday afternoon in off-and-on snow squalls. It'll be pretty darn cold on Sunday and temperatures could actually drop to zero degrees overnight on Sunday, so dress warm and enjoy winter:-)
The sun will rise to clear skies on Monday morning, and the next chance of snow will arrive on Thursday/Friday, November 15-16. Another storm may hit on Monday, November 19th. But I caution you to intelligently manage your optimism because the American GFS model and the European model disagree about the timing and track of these storms, so my confidence is far lower for these storms than the current storm which the two models agreed on more than seven days in advance.
And now for some eye candy...
First, here is the heavy snow band in Utah (as of Friday morning) that will hit Colorado late Friday night:
Second, last night I gave a 10 minute weather update at Neptune Mountaineering to open for Chris Davenport's talk about skiing the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest. Here's the video where I talk about the seasonal forecast and give a behind-the-scenes look into how I am forecasting the current storm. The audience had many beers and many laughs, so I encourage you to do the same. Grab a beer...yes, I know it's 8am, but nobody is looking:-)
Third, I teamed up with OnTheSnow.com to create two videos about the science of snowmaking. Here's the first video. It looks good, moves quickly, and has some great footage. Check it out!
And last, here's another reminder to join us at the Snoball next Tuesday night in Boulder. It's only $5 to attend and all money goes to charity. The point of the party is to party! Celebrate winter, meet fellow OpenSnow fans, meet me and the OpenSnow team, raise some money, get a free drink and food, AND win a few stellar prizes, including a full setup from Backcountry Acess including beacon, probe, shovel, and pack. More information and RSVP here.
Please share you snow observations below in the comments. Let us know where you are, if it's snowing, how much is on the ground, if you're dancing with yourself because you're psyched to see snow, etc.