Colorado Daily Snow

February 22, 2013 5:33pm MST

Quick update...

Most of the heavier snow showers today stayed south of I-70 and left a few inches from Aspen down to the San Juans. This was about what I thought would happen, though I also hoped I-70 would see some heavier snow showers, but this area turned out to be just a bit too far to the north.

Tonight and Saturday morning will be dry.

And the update for the Saturday night storm is ... it is diving south. Darnit. Well, that's not completely bad, but here's the deal.

The European model looks like it's going to be the winner. Both of the American models held firm over the last few days and thought that this storm would NOT dive too far south and rather would move more directly across Colorado. But the European held firm as well, thinking that the storm would cross southwestern Colorado and head further south than the American models. And...the Euro wins again. The last two runs of the American GFS and NAM models showed a big southern shift, and since these latest model runs have the benefit of newer data, and since they are beginning to agree with the often more correct European model, I tend to believe this shift.

What this means is that central and southern Colorado will likely get the brunt of the storm, while I-70 and north will still do well, but not as well as I previously thought. I still think Sunday will be a great powder day for most areas of the state, but the biggest accumulations will likely be from Aspen south to Irwin and perhaps Monarch and likely at Telluride and Wolf Creek as well. (speaking of which, Wolf has again done very well with 2+ feet over the last two days...I thought they would max out at around a foot, but Wolf rarely disappoints...and there's still time to get there for Sunday).

This Saturday night storm is making for an incredibly hard forecast. Remember that "mini-storm" that hung out over central Colorado on Wednesday night and provided some extra deep snow totals to some areas? The models are indicating that this could happen again with the Saturday night storm closing off somewhere in southern or central Colorado. If and where this happens could make a big difference in the snow totals for some areas.

So, lots of uncertainty, even with a two-day forecast. What I do know is that a strong cold front will bring a band of heavy snow to most areas by around sunset Saturday night, so it will snow hard for most places at least for a while. How long this snow lasts and how deep it piles up really comes down to the details, and I'll take a long look at the newest models tonight and Saturday morning and update the snow totals then.

The storm is just now coming onshore in the Pacific Northwest, so the models tonight and Saturday morning will have the benefit of using weather data that was actually taken from the ground, under this storm. Previously, when the storm was over the Pacific Ocean, the weather models mostly used satellite data to measure the storm since there are few on-the-ocean weather stations or ships. This isn't bad and is far better than not using satellites, but the satellites estimate a lot of things, and there is no substitute for actual on-the-ground measurements. This is what we'll get tonight and I hope this pulls the newest model runs into better agreement.

JOEL GRATZ

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