Tuesday December 4th 2012 8:59am
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-- Update 130pm --
Well, the newest European model came out and is sticking with the most snow Saturday into Sunday, which is what I have in the forecast. This is why you can't bank on the forecast from just one model run and should look at the trend within a model and between models. The Euro has been more consistent, so I'll stick with that until I see a few more runs of the GFS and NAM (American models). Basically, it's still going to snow, just need to figure out exactly when.
-- Update 1130am --
The newest models are showing that there might be more snow from Friday midday through Saturday night instead of Saturday night through Sunday. Ugh, this is the fun of the 5-day forecast. Stay tuned...
-- Original update --
We're in good shape as there are a few chances for snow over the coming 7-10 days. But as I always say, the details of each storm are what's important, and we're still a bit too far out to know the details. Let's get to what I do know...
Another weak storm will zip across the northern half of Colorado Wednesday night into Thursday and will drop 1-3 or 2-4 inches for many areas along and north of I-70 and about 0-2 inches for areas south of I-70. Northern areas will see most of the snow before sunrise on Thursday while southern areas will see snow between about sunrise and noon on Thursday. This is a similar storm to the one that came through on Sunday night.
Much colder air will stay just to the north of Colorado from Wednesday night through Friday night and this boundary between the colder air and warmer air will provide more snow showers from Thursday night through Friday night, mostly for Steamboat and the northern continental divide. I expect some flakes and clouds for many areas of the state on Thursday night, Friday, and Friday night, but accumulations will be small because we'll still be in the warmer airmass, which is less efficient at turning moisture into snow.
The main event arrives on Satuday afternoon-ish and lasts through Monday morning and should provide all mountains in Colorado with at least 3-5 inches and hopefully much more for some locations. If the current model forecasts hold, I would expect a cold front to bring heavy snow to the northern areas (i.e. Steamboat) starting late Saturday afternoon and move south through the entire state Saturday night into Sunday. It's possible that the storm plays both sides, meaning areas west of the divide see west or northwest winds (good for snow) and areas east of the divide see northeast winds (good for snow as this is an "upslope" wind direction). So all areas of the state, including the mountains and the urban areas on the plains, could see snow from this weekend's storm.
Keep in mind that forecasting a Saturday night snowstorm five days in advance is not going to be exactly accurate so when you read the snow amounts and the timing of the storm above, remember that this is my best generalized feel of how the storm will work out and check back each day for updates. You can create your own OpenSnow.com homepage with a list of your favorite resorts so that each morning you basically have a custom snow report and forecast page. Check it out!
The really, really, really good news is that I see chances for snow through next week and into the middle of December. If we can get into the pattern of having a storm every few days with relatively cold air sticking around during the in between days, then I think we'll be in much better shape by the third week of December than we are right now. Yes, your snow dances have worked, but don't stop now...we need a little more luck to ensure everything works out in our favor!
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