Next Decent Chance for Snow Comes Early Next Week

By and far the winners of the snowfall lottery this past week have been the mountains of Colorado. A weather feature often called an “atmospheric river” or sometimes the “Pineapple Express” has set up the past several days over the Western U.S. This feature is known for bringing incredible amounts of moisture inland to California, Arizona, Nevada, the Pacific Northwest and Western Colorado.

Image courtesy of Weather.US

The good news is that our mountains in Colorado benefit considerably when this type of pattern establishes. Copious amounts of moisture combined with a strong jet stream produces strong upslope and lifting due to instability created by the jet overhead. We often see a similar effect over the front range with the jet overhead and upslope that has led to several of our banded snowfall events this year.

In the image above, darker yellows and lighter reds indicate a foot or more of snowfall while the darker reds and browns indicate over 2 feet of snowfall… in just the last 72 hours. This is awesome news because the areas seeing the most snow in the Southwest are also the areas in the worst level of drought right now.


Where’s Our Snow?

Unfortunately for the Palmer Divide, setups like this create strong westerly or southwesterly flow which benefits the mountains with tons of snow but leaves our air drier and warmer. In most cases, we tend to see a lot of classical downslope events in our area with these types of patterns.

If you need any more proof of that, just remind yourself of the wind we’ve seen the past few days and the warm temperatures. We’ve seen nearly 3 feet of snow at our place melt in just a couple of days!

The thing with the “Pineapple Express” setup is that it rarely is good for snow along the front range. The only times I’ve seen it work out for us is when it is further South and hooks up with a strong cold front and upper level disturbance coming out of the North… this is very rare.

Fear not though, because as we know… weather patterns are fluid and always changing. As the “atmospheric river” begins to break down and move East, it will open our storm track up just a little bit in the coming days.


Scoping the Next Storm

I did say that our storm track will shift a bit over the next few days and with it chances for snow along the front range. Sadly though, I don’t see any major storms in our future at this time. The pattern is shifting again back to Northwesterly flow aloft setup that we’ve seen most of the winter. This means we could see more quick hitting storms that move through and drop bits of snow here and there.

GFS anticipated snowfall accumulation through 5PM Tuesday

While there is the chance of on and off snow/rain showers over the weekend across the front range (and I suspect some areas will see light bits of precip here and there) the next decent chance comes around Sunday/Monday. The GFS pictured above is the model that’s most excited about this storm maxing out at 3.5 inches, but since we are so far out I caution to read all of those numbers with a huge grain of salt. We won’t get any specific details until we get closer to the storm and get in range of higher resolution models.

All we can determine from a model this far out is an overall “theme” and the theme we are seeing here is colder and unsettled to begin the week next week.

For what it’s worth the EURO is not terribly excited about this storm either.

There’s on interesting pattern I can see in both models above… can you spot it?

The dry slots along the front range and Palmer Divide scream DOWNSLOPE! Now each models has its differences on where and when that sets up but we can’t ignore it… downsloping conditions will  be efficient at eroding snowfall and may shift where the snow falls/accumulates based on the surface winds.

Again… too early for much more details than that. But if you want to follow along forecast this one with us, I’d recommend to keep an eye on the models over the next few days and especially how it develops winds at the surface over the next few days.


The Takeaway

Not much more details on our next storm than what we presented above. Just keep in mind to plan for the POTENTIAL for a storm early next week and right now it doesn’t look too major. As we know that can change quickly so we will be watching over the next few days to see how it evolves and will pass along any updates as needed.

Cheers!

 

Afternoon Storm Update for 2/6-2/7, 2019 Storm

The picture on this storm is becoming a bit clearer as we get more data in. This will be another tricky forecast (I’ll discuss why a bit further down the page) but basically most areas along the front range won’t see a whole ton of snow out of this. Some very specific areas will have the chance to bust high on the snowfall forecast again, that combined with quick bursts of snow and some wind means travel conditions will likely be tricky for the commute Wednesday night.

Here’s the latest updates as of 1PM today:

NWS Weather Alerts (Updated as of 1PM 2/5/2019)

Winter Storm Warnings for the mountains are up for hazardous travel conditions due to heavy snow, strong winds and snow accumulation. For the front range of Colorado, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for primarily travel difficulties.

Winter Weather Advisory (12PM Wednesday– 5AM Thursday)

Cities/Areas Included

Including the cities of Estes Park, Glendevey, Nederland,
Red Feather Lakes, Bailey, Central City, Evergreen, Georgetown,
Idaho Springs, Westcreek, Fort Collins, Hereford, Loveland, Nunn,
Arvada, Boulder, Golden, Lakewood, Longmont, Aurora, Brighton,
City of Denver, Denver International Airport, Highlands Ranch,
Littleton, Parker, Castle Rock, Elbert, Fondis, Kiowa, Larkspur,
Briggsdale, Grover, Pawnee Buttes, Raymer, Stoneham, Eaton,
Fort Lupton, Greeley, Roggen, Brush, Fort Morgan, Goodrich,
Wiggins, Bennett, Byers,

Hazards

Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions will impact the evening commute. The cold
wind chills as low as 25 below zero could cause frostbite on  exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.
A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will
cause primarily travel difficulties. Expect snow covered roads
and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.

Expected Snowfall (through Wednesday 5AM)

*These are our forecast numbers and may not always match the NWS official forecast numbers*
  • Castle Rock and surrounding areas
    • 1-4 inches
  • Parker, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch areas
    • 2-5 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 1-4 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 1-4 inches
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 1-4 inches

Timing

  • Snowfall may spread onto the front range late Wednesday morning
  • Heavier snow showers are most likely between 12PM and 6PM on Wednesday
  • Snow showers should diminish and be out of the area by 9PM or so
  • **Largest chance of a travel impact will be 12PM-8PM on Wednesday**

WPC most likely snowfall for this storm, it’s pretty in line with our forecast.

Impacts

  • Likely travel impacts will be slick roads with some accumulating snow on road surfaces
  • Wednesday evening looking likely to be impacted
  • Models as of this afternoon still favor areas around and North of Denver for more of an impact with less of an impact along the Palmer Divide.
    • Stay tuned in case the storm position changes and thus the impact area

Storm Synopsis

The turd in the punch bowl (excuse the expression) for this storm is thrown in when we look at the snowfall models coming out this afternoon.

Remember these…?

They’re back! Given the storm setup aloft and the fact that we can see banded snowfall on the models means some areas will not fall within their forecast snow range.

We can see pretty clearly on some of the higher resolution models that there will be bands of heavier snowfall along with this storm. Given the strong flow aloft out of the West and Northwest, this is something I’d expect even if the models didn’t pick up on it.

Here’s the big thing to remember about snowfall bands:

  • We can’t forecast where they set up exactly
  • We can’t forecast exactly when they set up (only a range)
  • We can’t forecast how intense they get
  • We can’t forecast how long they stick around

All we can tell you based on this information is that some areas will see higher snowfall amounts than what is forecast.

Banded snowfall setup; ours will be similar with this storm but snow bands will be more oriented SW to NE. (Credit: http://www.skyviewweather.com)

For what it’s worth models tend to be keeping the heavier snowfall bands in and around Denver and points to the North. That doesn’t necessarily mean a thing, just figured I’d point it out!

Summary

All in all, this storm will be like the past couple we’ve seen. With the jet overhead to enhance lift in very specific areas and moisture and up slope establishing with a cold front moving in; I’d expect this storm will be mainly just a headache for most folks.

Those that do get lucky enough to stick under those snow bands for awhile will graduate this storm beyond a headache to a pain in the rear.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this storm as we get more data into the evening. Probably expect at least one more post or two up late tonight and perhaps tomorrow morning if things start to change.

Stay tuned!

Batter Up! Next Storm System Rolls Into the Region on Wednesday!

After a period of quiet and somewhat tranquil weather, there is evidence our weather pattern may be shifting back to an unsettled period for a bit again heading towards the middle of the month. A new storm system pounding the state of California will begin to move towards Colorado.

The storm will hit the mountains with a ton of moisture and energy but the brunt of that will stay in the higher elevations. That being said, there is the potential for quick bursts of moderate to heavy snow that could cause some travel headaches primarily on Wednesday afternoon into the early evening hours. Here’s the preliminary information on this storm…

NWS Weather Alerts

Winter Storm Watches are in effect for the mountains. No weather advisories/warnings for the front range as of this evening.


Expected Snowfall (through Wednesday 11PM)

*These are our forecast numbers and may not always match the NWS official forecast numbers*
  • Castle Rock and surrounding areas
    • 1-3 inches
  • Parker, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch areas
    • 1-4 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 0-3 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 0-3 inches
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 0-3 inches

WPC most likely snowfall for this storm, it’s pretty in line with our forecast.

Timing

  • Snowfall may spread onto the front range late Wednesday morning
  • Heavier snow showers are most likely between 12PM and 6PM on Wednesday
  • Snow showers should diminish and be out of the area by 9PM or so
  • **Largest chance of a travel impact will be 12PM-6PM on Wednesday**

 

Impacts

  • Likely travel impacts will be slick roads with some accumulating snow on road surfaces
  • Wednesday evening commute may be impacted
  • Models as of this evening are favoring the areas around and North of Denver for more of an impact with less of an impact along the Palmer Divide.
    • Stay tuned in case the storm position changes and thus the impact area

Not seeing any hints of a major storm, but we know how that has been this year. One thing we will have to keep an eye on is strong flow aloft, which means snowfall banding could be possible. If you end up under these snow bands the potential for the forecast to bust high will be increased.

Models are hinting at snowfall banding potential with this storm, but like I’ve said… they can show us the potential but not exactly when or where they will set up.

We will be keeping an eye on this storm as we get more data in on Tuesday along with the higher resolution and short range data coming in. Stay tuned!

Blizzard Warning Issued for Palmer Divide and NE Colorado

Huge post with a lot of important information, please take this storm seriously and begin your preparations today!

NWS Weather Alerts

Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Blizzard Warning | Snow Storm | Winter Weather Advisory

Latest weather alerts as of 12PM on Monday January 21, 2019

Blizzard Warning (8PM Monday – 11AM Tuesday)

Cities/Areas Included

Castle Rock-Fort Morgan-Byers-Limon-Akron-
Including the cities of Castle Rock, Elbert, Fondis, Kiowa,
Larkspur, Brush, Fort Morgan, Goodrich, Wiggins, Bennett, Byers,
Deer Trail, Leader, Agate, Hugo, Limon, Matheson, Akron, Cope,
Last Chance, and Otis

Hazards

Travel will be very difficult. Blowing
  snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous
  conditions could impact the morning commute. Gusty winds could
  bring down tree branches.

Winter Weather Advisory (8PM Monday – 9AM Tuesday)

Cities/Areas Included

Arvada, Boulder, Golden, Lakewood,
Longmont, Aurora, Brighton, City of Denver,
Denver International Airport, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Parker,
Eaton, Fort Lupton, Greeley, and Roggen

Hazards

Plan on slippery road conditions. Blowing
  snow could significantly reduce visibility, especially east of
  Interstate 25. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning
  commute.

Expected Snowfall (through Tuesday 12PM)

*These are our forecast numbers and may not always match the NWS official forecast numbers*
  • Castle Rock and surrounding areas
    • 3-7 inches, locally heavier amounts
  • , Parker, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch areas
    • 2-5 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 4-10 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 4-10 inches, locally heavier amounts
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 4-10 inches

Timing

  • Snowfall looks most likely after 8PM on Monday
  • Heavier snow looks most likely from late Monday night through mid Tuesday morning
  • Models have the storm exiting the area by 12PM Tuesday

 

Impacts

Blizzard conditions are looking more likely across the Palmer Divide and Northeastern Colorado. Strong winds approaching 50mph will cause blowing and drifting snow as well as whiteout conditions. Travel will be dangerous.

Road closures will be possible

Expected worst impacts: Monday Night – Tuesday Morning

Most concerned about Palmer Divide areas East of Castle Rock and Northeastern Colorado.

If you must travel, please have a winter survival kit… I’ll post it again for reference.

Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Winter Weather Preparedness | Winter Survival Kit

By the way, it’s always a great idea to have these items in your car when you need to be out driving in snow. As we know in Colorado a minor storm can turn into a major one very quickly, so be prepared!

Please stay aware of the forecast, significant uncertainty still exists on whether this will be a high or low impact event. We are urging folks to be prepared in case it does pan out to be a high impact event.


Storm Synopsis

Nam3k forecast storm track and precip type

There is still a lot of model disagreement between the North American models and the Euro. The NA models still show a storm track further north and at a quicker pace, this is why NWS has waited so long to see what this storm actually does. It’s easy to count this storm out with so many models calling it a bust for the front range of Colorado, but the problem is the Euro still takes the storm track South and slows it down a bit.

The Euro has been by and far, much more accurate than our own U.S. based models for several years now. While it still has the ocassional curve ball it misses (the last surprise storm) it doesn’t happen very often.

With all the uncertainty, we were waiting to see what track the storm started taking and something interesting started to happen as it was tracked on water vapor imagery…

The image above shows the approximate location of the low pressure center… the thing is it is a bit further South than many of the North American models were predicting. This southerly bias is what caused NWS to pull the trigger and issue warnings today. Now, could the storm still fall apart? Absolutely, but given we’d want a more southern track for a higher impact event and that’s exactly what we are seeing (so far) it seems like a good idea to at least get people prepared.

The next steps are to continue to watch this storm, if it wobbles any further North as it crosses Utah and the Colorado mountains we’d expect to see lesser impacts from this storm for Colorado’s front range. If it stays on track and biases more Southerly, we will be in business!

By the way, main part of a Blizzard warning is not how much snow we get, but the combination of snow (really any amount that can cause travel issues) and strong winds.

700mb winds for Tuesday morning

700mb winds will either be at surface or a bit above depending on your elevation but models have them absolutely screaming early Tuesday morning into about mid morning. Those red areas are up to 50mph so be aware blowing and drifting snow will be very likely with this storm.

That’s it for now, will be keeping an eye on it all day Monday, into Monday night and Tuesday morning. We will be sure to pass along any additional updates.

AM Storm Update – Jan 21-22, 2019 Storm

NWS Weather Alerts

There are no winter weather alerts with this storm for the Palmer Divide region. We will keep an eye out in case any get issued.

Expected Snowfall (through Tuesday 12PM)

*These are preliminary forecast amounts and will change with more data coming in on Sunday and Monday, stay tuned for changes*
  • Castle Rock and surrounding areas
    • 3-7 inches
  • , Parker, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch areas
    • 2-5 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 4-8 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 4-8 inches
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 4-9 inches

Timing

  • Snowfall looks most after 9PM on Monday, stay aware in case the storm arrives earlier…
  • Heavier snow looks most likely from late Monday night through mid Tuesday morning
  • Models have the storm exiting the area by 12PM Tuesday

 

Nam3K simulated radar w/precip type for 11PM Monday

 

Impacts

Given the nature of these banded snowfall storms, we will expect some sort of travel impact Monday night and Tuesday morning. I suspect the Tuesday morning commute could be difficult if this storm comes together right.

Monday Night – Tuesday Morning

  • Possibility of slick roads
  • Quick bursts of intense snow will overcome road warming and cause snow and ice to accumulate
  • Quick bursts of snow will also mean snowplows may struggle to keep roads clear during the storm

 

By the way, it’s always a great idea to have these items in your car when you need to be out driving in snow. As we know in Colorado a minor storm can turn into a major one very quickly, so be prepared!

 

There’s still a lot of moving parts with this storm so a lot of these details are preliminary and may change. There is still a fair amount of model uncertainty, but the snowfall amounts we gave above encompass most of them and discount the outliers.

We will continue getting data in on Sunday that will change our forecast one way or another so keep an eye on our site and facebook page for changes!

January 18, 2019 Storm Palmer Divide Snow Totals

Yesterday’s storm was a surprise for a lot of us along the Palmer Divide. If you lived outside that area you saw little to no snow at all, but we got hammered for lack of a better term.

Here’s a map of what ranges many place in our area received from our latest storm:

Snowfall Reported (through Saturday 5AM)

  • Castle Rock, Parker, Lone Tree areas
    • 5-8 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 8-14 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 6-12 inches, some areas reporting 10-15 inches Southwest of Larkspur
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 4-8 inches with locally higher amounts

I’d like to put a more detailed look up about this storm… while it was a surprise to a lot of us the clues were there before the storm. It looks like even if those were picked up, the probabilities of those things coming together were so low that they were discounted.

If you’ve followed me long enough you know I love to analyze forecasts that I get wrong. Expect that article in the next day or two with more detailed snow amounts as well from NWS and CoCoRahs.

For now, all eyes ahead to our next storm moving in on Monday… details about that one coming soon!

Storm Update: Jan 18-19-2019

We’ve been pretty quiet on the details regarding our next storm system throughout this week… that should probably tell you how excited we are getting about it. The fact is the next storm system has a ton of moisture in it, the mountains are going to see very high amounts of accumulated snowfall the next few days, but sadly the storm track and setup is not conducive to a decent snow event along the front range.

Expected Colorado snow totals for next 48 hours

Looking closer at the Palmer Divide and here is what the WPC is thinking for snowfall through Saturday morning. (Below)

Expected snowfall amounts for next 48 hours along the Palmer Divide Region

As usual, I believe the snowfall amounts predicted above are a bit overdone. The NAM and GFS models are in agreement with pretty much no snow accumulation for nearly the entire front range except for the Palmer Divide. Even there, they only show less than an inch…

The Euro is only slightly more excited about the Palmer Divide, but still holds many places outside of that region (along the front range) at nearly no snow accumulation. For the record, the EURO has been most accurate this year, it’s showing about 1 inch for the Castle Rock area and amounts close to that around the city in areas with higher elevations.

So I’ll wrap up the details pretty quick with this storm because in all honestly, it doesn’t look too exciting and won’t have many impacts on our area…

NWS Weather Alerts

There are no winter weather alerts with this storm for the Palmer Divide region… at this point we don’t expect any to be issued.

Expected Snowfall (through Saturday 5AM)

  • Castle Rock, Parker, Lone Tree areas
    • 0-2 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 0-2 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 0-3 inches
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 0-3 inches

**Emphasis on the lower amounts of these ranges with the data coming in today!

Timing

  • Snowfall looks most likely 12PM Friday through 6PM Friday
  • A quick moving cold front will provide enough lift for snow showers Friday afternoon but it looks very short lived
  • Lingering snow showers are possible into Saturday morning with little to no additional accumulation

2PM Nam3k composite radar forecast for Friday. This is the only burst of snow I see that comes when the cold front moves through. The model has it completely gone by the 5PM snapshot… so a very quick duration event!

Impacts

Expecting little to minor impacts with this storm. Some roads may become a bit slick with the quick burst of snow when the front arrives on Friday afternoon. Given the quickness that the front moves through and exits the area, we don’t expect any widespread issues and the duration of snowfall looks short.

Should this look like it’s changing, we will pass along those details!

AM Storm Update – Here Comes the Snow!

Weather Alerts

NWS Weather Alerts as of this morning

NWS has upgraded the Palmer Divide and foothills to a Winter Storm Warning. This warning has been issued due to the expectation of heavy snow and higher snow accumulations resulting in difficult and hazardous driving conditions. The Warning and Advisory issued runs through 12AM Saturday so expect travel issues to linger into Friday evening.


Updated Expected Snowfall Amounts

As expected, models bumped up snowfall amounts last night but only slightly. Since I was waiting for this signal before I updated my own forecast, I have decided to tweak my snowfall amounts.

Expected snowfall through Saturday AM

The reason I waited a bit to raise our forecast is that I wanted to see more agreement between the models before pulling the trigger on the snow amounts going up. I saw that this morning so here is what we’re looking at:

  • Castle Rock, Parker, Lone Tree areas
    *Lone Tree may be slightly lower depending on melting and temperatures due to elevation*

    • 6-12 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 5-10 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 6-12 inches
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 7-14 inches

 


Summary

Live radar as of 7:50AM

While this storm won’t be the city crippling “blizzard” that a lot are hoping for; the good news is that this storm will provide some extremely beneficial moisture we have been lacking around the region so far. If you’re working today, I’d highly recommend leaving early, the evening commute looks rough and roads will continue to be dicey through the evening and nighttime hours.

The Winter Storm Warning issue by the NWS is notable, they only issue these when they expect road conditions to deteriorate pretty badly.

So if you’re out and about today, take it slow, be safe, stay warm and be careful. The Palmer Divide is in the bulls-eye today so expect roads South of Denver to Colorado Springs to deteriorate throughout the day and be pretty nasty by afternoon and evening hours..

School Delays/Closures

There are some school closures in Elbert County, here’s the latest as of this writing:

Closings Last Updated at 7:52am on 1/11/2019

Clear Creek School District Closed
Elbert School District 200 Closed
Platte Canyon Schools Closed
Regis Jesuit High School Opening 2 hours late

 

Friday Snow Storm – This One’s Looking Interesting!

This storm didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, we’ve been watching it for days but as you can imagine we are hesitant to get too excited about it given what has happened so far this year. Models have continued to keep decent snow accumulation along the front range and targets the Palmer Divide pretty well with a bigger impact. Here’s the latest on everything we are seeing tonight!

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 5AM on January 11 through 12AM January 12

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the front range mountains, front range foothills and Palmer Divide for tough travel conditions due to falling snow and icy roads. The advisory goes into effect at 5AM so keep that in mind for the morning commute and the evening commute as well.

We don’t see a lot of evidence for heavy snowfall, but light to moderate snow through the day will add up. The accumulation amounts you will see below are generally through late Friday night into Saturday morning so keep that in mind; snow all day with accumulations listed.


What to Expect

Timing

There is a bit of disagreement on when the snow kicks in exactly, so we’ll go with our best guesses on this one; but just like our past storms if it starts snowing early expect more snow… if it snowing later expect snowfall amounts to be less.

  • Snow is expected to start very early on Friday morning, 3-6AM timeframe looks most likley
  • Snow will ramp up and be at its heaviest between 6AM-11AM with a secondary wave later in the day
  • This will be a long duration event, snow is expected from Friday morning through late Friday night
  • Morning Commute Impact: light to moderate
  • Evening Commute Impact: Moderate

Snowfall

Here’s some of the snow totals we are thinking… I’m still not quite sold on the higher totals for a lot of areas in this storm. I’ve chosen to go with slightly lower totals based on warm temperatures, melting snow and also based on the track record we’ve seen of storms shifting South at the last minute.

Expected snowfall through Saturday morning

If I’m 100% honest, this is probably the storm with the most potential to over perform my snowfall forecast that we’ve seen all year… so keep that in mind. As such, you’ll see my ranges are slightly different from the graphic above but I think based on the modeling and data I’ve seen so far, the ranges are pretty close to valid.

  • Castle Rock, Parker, Lone Tree areas
    • 4-8 inches
  • Elbert, Elizabeth, Kiowa
    • 3-7 inches
  • Larkspur, Monument
    • 4-8 inches
  • Woodland Park, Palmer Lake, W. Colorado Springs Foothills
    • 5-10 inches

Impacts

Main impacts of this storm will have to do with travel on Friday. Roads may be slick in the morning initially but melting later in the day means they will be slushy or wet later in the day.

Models show a secondary burst of snow later in the afternoon and considering that with following temperatures I’d expect travel impacts Friday evening and night as well.


Wrapping It All Up

This is another one of those type storms where people get caught up on “how much snow do we get?” This storm if it performs as expected will cause travel difficulties throughout the day on Friday, especially South of Denver… that’s really what folks should focus on here.

As we get data throughout the night, I’ll post another update early Friday morning if needed. Stay tuned and we’ll be sure to pass along any important updates!

Chance of Snow Friday?

Euro Model: 500mb upper air + vorticity

Our weather pattern will see a bit of a wobble to end the week out… we say wobble because the overall longer term will be warm and dry. However, just because we are stuck in a longer term warm/dry pattern doesn’t mean we won’t see any snow or storm systems at all, it simply means it will be hard to get excited about any of them.

The later part of this week will be no exception; the EURO model above is picking up on a trough developing to our Southwest by Thursday and moving into the region late on Friday. Given the positioning and energy shown with this storm, snowfall is looking more and more likely, but again we can’t get too excited about it with the data we are seeing just yet.

Euro Model: mean level sea pressure and precip type

The EURO MLSP (pressure) and precip outlook shows that storm staying far enough away so that we don’t see a lot of impact from it. Notice on Friday morning how it has a bit of precipitation over the front range and Palmer Divide, but not a whole lot in the way of intensity. This storm falls apart a bit as it moves through Southern Colorado and then reorganizes substantially as it moves East. If this is giving you a sense of deja vu from the last storm, you’d be right.

The other issue with this storm may be the temperatures…

Euro Model: 5AM Friday 1/11/2019 temperatures

This snapshot of the temperatures from 5AM saturday shows air temps along the front range generally in the upper 20’s to low 30’s (obviously there are variations with microclimate and elevation) but temperatures like that are marginal for snow sticking to the ground… especially with how warm we have been for the past week.

What to Plan For

I’m not showing snow totals right now because this far out and with the model disagreement, I don’t think they’re very accurate. Here’s what we are becoming more confident on though;

  • Timing
    • Possible late Thursday into early Friday
    • Maybe some impact through the day Friday
  • Impact
    • Impacts look minor with the data we are seeing right now
    • Colder temperatures look likely
    • Wind may be a factor, we’ll keep an eye on this
    • Snow accumulation looks light at this time, we will keep an eye on this as well.

So nothing to get too excited about yet, just be aware that we are watching some sort of storm coming together around the late Thursday to early Friday timeframe.

We will keep an eye on it and be sure to pass along any updates, stay tuned!