Colorado Daily Snow

December 27, 2013 8:53am MST

Summary:

Dry through Saturday, then light snow Saturday night with the best accumulations along and east of the divide. Likely dry on Sunday and Monday, then a chance for light snow Tuesday through Wednesday for mountains along and north of I-70. I have no clue about the longer term forecast ... the weather pattern is changing, but I don't know what that means for snow in Colorado.

Details:

The weather pattern from now through about New Year's Day features a large area of high pressure off the weather coast. Moisture and energy is riding over this high pressure, into British Columbia and Alberta, then southeast into the central US. Colorado is on the edge of this storm track. Being on the edge means a constant forecasting struggle to figure out if our northern and eastern mountains will get some snow, or if the storms go just a bit too far to the east to bring us flakes.

My thinking at this point is that we'll stay solidly on the edge of the storm track. We will not see that much snow, but we won't be dry either.

The first ripple of energy and moisture will move through on Saturday night. I think 2-4 inches is a good bet east of the divide, with just an inch or two west of the divide along and north of I-70.

Sunday and Monday should be dry, but if the storm track edges just a bit closer to Colorado, we will see flakes. I'm going to keep the forecast dry for now.

Our next good chance for moisture and storm energy will arrive on Tuesday and last through Wednesday. Again, this storm will focus on the areas along and north of I-70. My compromise forecast is for about 2-4 inches of snow, but I have very low confidence in this. We could see very little if the storm scoots off to the north and east, or we could measure deeper amounts if the storm moves closer to us.

Since I'm heading up to British Columbia tonight and skiing Sunday through Thursday, I've been keeping an eye on the storm track all the way from the Pacific Ocean through Canada and into Colorado. And I've (stupidly?) been looking at 10-15 day forecasts. Let me tell you that right now the models have no clue what's going on in the medium to long term. This gives me low confidence when predicting the storm track for early next week, and even lower (no!) confidence predicting things out beyond New Years. Sometimes the long-term pattern is easier to predict, but not this time. So do your snow dance but don't get too excited or depressed based on one model run. The pattern is changing as we head into the New Year, I just don't know what this change will bring.

On a lighter note, and speaking of long-range forecasts, check out this article from the Washington Post, written by a former boss / professor of mine from Penn State, who had his class look at the accuracy of Accuweather's 45 day forecasts: http://opsw.co/18OrS1z

JOEL GRATZ

 

 

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