Mar 23

March 2016 Blizzard in Full Effect

If you were up late enough last night for my 1AM post you noticed I started using the ‘B’ word in my posts. I’m usually cautious to start calling storms full-fledged blizzards, but that is exactly what we are now looking at. The computer models were sluggish with upping snow totals all day yesterday and then the models late last night began upping snow totals drastically.

See Also: 1AM Blizzard Update (Models Crank Up the Snow)

The Latest

For all intents and purposes this storm remains on track to be a major spring snow storm.

NAm4k total snowfall accumulation by Weds PM

NAm4k total snowfall accumulation by Weds PM

HRRR total snowfall accumulation forecast by Weds PM

HRRR total snowfall accumulation forecast by Weds PM

The models this morning are pretty consistent with what we saw late last night. The storm track shifted slightly southward enough to bring  good snowfall to the front range of Colorado.

Snowfall Forecast

Castle Rock: 7-14 inches

Palmer Divide (Eastern Douglas County and Elbert County towards Limon) : 8-16 inches

Denver: 6-12 inches

Impacts

We are already seeing these impacts

  • Heavy snowfall

  • Strong winds up to 60mph, sustained 30-40mph

  • Hazardous road conditions (expect road conditions to deteriorate through the day with improvement in the late evening hours)

  • Strongest impacts will be felt East of Castle Rock into Elbert County.

  • Road closures will be likely in some areas

  • Power outages have been reported

  • Traction laws are in effect for I-25 (means your car needs snow tires/chains, trucks need chains)

I’ll be continuing to track this system throughout the day. Expect snowfall to come to an end late this afternoon and improving conditions by tomorrow.

At this time I would not recommend driving if you absolutely don’t have to. Stay home, enjoy a movie!

 

Mar 23

Blizzard Update as of 1AM

For the night owls still up, I have a quick update on the latest status of the storm set to impact the front range of Colorado. For everyone else, no worries as I’ll have another update Wednesday morning.

The Latest

In a nutshell, models across the entire spectrum have significantly increased snowfall accumulations. I am usually very hesitant to jump on increases based on one set of model runs, we can see these flip-flop the other way on the very next run. Overall though, this is a very convincing set of models as far as how they all agree on a higher snowfall amount. With that in mind I’m increasing my snowfall forecast in and around the Castle Rock area. I’ll look to the morning’s models to see if this stays on track or if I need to adjust downward again (or maybe even upward, depending on the data)

Here’s a quick look at the latest models for snowfall accumulation

NAM snowfall forecast by Weds PM

NAM snowfall forecast by Weds PM

HRRR snowfall accumulation forecast by Weds PM

HRRR snowfall accumulation forecast by Weds PM

As we get closer to the storm, I begin to look at some of the better short range forecast models. The HRRR especially (bottom image) is quite good at picking out finer details and overall trends.

As with any analysis of the weather, I don’t simply look at one model or one set of circumstances, the EURO’s positioning of the low has been very consistent for 3 days now. When a lot of models dismissed this snowfall event, the EURO held fast. The latest look at this model show the Low setting up in a very favorable position for heavy snowfall along the front range.

EuroMSLP_03232016_weds20z

Updated Castle Rock/Palmer Divide Forecast

Castle Rock West of I-25: 6-12 inches

Castle Rock East of I-25: 7-14 inches

Palmer Divide (Eastern Douglas County and Elbert County towards Limon) : 8-16 inches

Denver:4-8 inches

 

You’ll notice my totals are slightly lower than model guidance shown above. Mainly this is because down-slope may still play a bit of a factor for some areas, though it is much less prevalent on the latest models. The other reason is that warmer temperatures (especially at lower elevations) may cause some significant melting before the snow sticks.

Impacts Remain the Same

  • Heavy snowfall

  • Strong winds up to 60mph, sustained 30-40mph

  • Hazardous road conditions (morning commute may not be too bad yet but as snow falls throughout the day road conditions will deteriorate)

  • Strongest impacts will be felt East of Castle Rock into Elbert County.

I’ll have further updates Wednesday morning with a look at new model data and if the storm still looks on track at that time. Stay tuned for further details!

 

Mar 22

Wednesday (3/23/16) Snowstorm Update

Thought I’d post a quick update on how the storm looks with the latest data in; in short, I see no reason to change the forecast at this point. There are still some major questions about this storm as far as the Denver area and even the Western Palmer Divide.

Here’s a quick look at the areas and impacts we are watching closely this afternoon:

03232016_snowstormimpacts

The Yellow Area (Includes Castle Rock Denver, Parker, Longmont, Boulder, Fort Collins…)

  • This is the area of greatest uncertainty now. Folks before you jump on the media hype train that the local TV news stations have started up, understand that the areas in yellow have equal chances of seeing 1-3 inches or 6-12 inches.
  • Uncertainty is extremely high because every model shows a dry slot of air in this area that could result in much less snowfall than anticipated. Downslope could kill snowfall in these areas.

The Orange Area (Includes Elizabeth, Kiowa, Limon, Flagler…)

  • These areas look certain to get heavy snowfall and strong winds during the period on Wednesday
  • Travel in these areas may become very difficult, if you plan on travelling in these areas consider postponing if possible.

The Red Area (Includes Strasburg, Woodrow, Last Chance…)

  • At this time the area in red looks to be the most severely impacted
  • Blizzard conditions will be possible, heavy snow and winds up to 50mph may cause some roads to close.

Bottom Line

Keep a close eye on the weather forecasts this afternoon and into this evening. If you are travelling in the red or orange areas tomorrow you need to keep a close eye on the situation.

For us in and around Castle Rock, the forecast still stands:

Preliminary snowfall forecast for the Castle Rock area: 4-8 Inches

Main Impacts: Heavy snowfall, strong winds up to 50mph, hazardous road conditions especially Wednesday morning. Strongest impacts will be felt East of Castle Rock into Elbert County.

**Keep in mind this is preliminary today, this forecast may change upwards or downwards based on the data I see throughout the day Tuesday.

But understand there is still a high degree of uncertainty for areas in and around Castle Rock. These areas could receive big snow if the up-slope cooperates, but right now models are latching onto down-sloping winds which would eliminate a lot of moisture for snowfall. The tricky part is, it is very difficult to forecast how much down-slope erodes the storm and where.

NAM_03222016_Thurs00Z

I’ve highlighted the areas in yellow that stand the most chance of having this storm bust. This means those areas could equally see little to no snow accumulation from this storm depending on a lot of variables that set up on Wednesday morning.

NAM4K_03222016_Thurs00Z

The latest NAM 4k is also picking up on a pronounced dry slot due to down-sloping.

Keep an eye on the weather forecasts this afternoon, I expect the NWS to start pulling the trigger and upgrading some of these Watches to Warnings soon. We’ll keep a close eye on it and expect at least a couple more posts about this storm today as more data comes in.

As always, thank you all for reading, liking and sharing, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask on our Facebook page!

 

Mar 22

**Winter Storm Watch Issued** Next Storm Begins to Organize to the West

The National Weather Service in Denver has issued a ***Winter Storm Watch*** for some areas of the front range of Colorado for 4AM Wednesday morning through 6PM Wednesday night. This storm echoes a lot of the last storm system to move through in the fact that it will not be a major, city-crippling blizzard, but it does look to be significant enough to cause quite a few headaches throughout the day on Wednesday. Here’s the latest as of this morning:

Impacts

  • Heavier snowfall between 6AM and Noon on Wednesday
  • Winds will be strong starting Tuesday afternoon and continue through the day Wednesday
    • Expected sustained winds of 25-35mph with gusts up to 50mph
    • This could cause blowing and drifting of any snow that falls. Areas East of Castle Rock towards the plains will have the highest threat of blizzard like conditions
  • Roads will become icy and snow-packed with the heavier snow on Wednesday. Roads to the east on the plains may become impassible with drifting snow
  • Wednesday morning commute looks rough, the evening commute may be dicey as well depending on how long the snow lingers around during the day

See Also: Current Colorado Weather Watches/Warnings/Advisories

Expected Snowfall for Castle Rock Area

I’ve held off on snowfall totals through the day Monday as models were having a tough time pinning down where the heaviest snow will fall. It looks like that is still the situation with the latest models, but in any case here is what they show as of this morning:

 

NAM Radar forecast Weds AM

NAM Radar forecast Weds AM

NAM total snowfall forecast by Weds evening

NAM total snowfall forecast by Weds evening

NAM 4K Radar forecast for Weds AM (Higher resolution model)

NAM 4K Radar forecast for Weds AM (Higher resolution model)

NAM 4K total snowfall forecast by Weds evening

NAM 4K total snowfall forecast by Weds evening

GFS surface winds Weds morning

GFS surface winds Weds morning

GFS_snowfall_03222016_00ZThurs

GFS total snowfall forecast by Weds evening

**I put the GFS last because it’s the model I trust least in the winter season

You can see that every model is bringing snowfall to our area to some degree. The NAM and Euro (not shown) models have been much more consistent this year with predicting winter storms so I tend to stick with them first and give the GFS just a passing glance.

One big concern I have about total snowfall is that in the NAM models above, there is a pronounced dry slot against the foothills and Western Douglas County. This is a signal consistent with down-sloping winds, winds like this tend to dry the atmosphere and could impact how much snow we get. You’ll notice the bulls eye is not over Castle Rock proper, but just to our immediate East, especially in Elbert County. The NWS has a snowfall range of 4-8 inches, which I tend to agree with but have serious concerns about down-slope flow killing our snow accumulation as you move West. If this signal verifies, expect my snowfall forecast to drop drastically at some point on Tuesday, however if the storm track shifts more favorably, the 6-12 inch range may not be out of the question.

I know at first glance the 4-8 inch range contradicts the NAM pretty sharply, however I’m not looking at just one model. Given the data I’ve seen across the entire spectrum of model products that I use, some do indeed show the higher snowfall pusing further West, hence why I agree with the 4-8 inch range at this time.

My preliminary snowfall forecast for the Castle Rock area: 4-8 Inches

Main Impacts: Heavy snowfall, strong winds up to 50mph, hazardous road conditions especially Wednesday morning

**Keep in mind this is preliminary today, this forecast may change upwards or downwards based on the data I see throughout the day Tuesday.

Stay tuned to Mountain Wave Weather throughout the day Tuesday, I will have several updates regarding this storm and will post as new data comes in and the forecast either begins to verify or change.

Synopsis

For the weather nerds more interested in the science of this storm I usually throw in this section to talk more technically about the storm setup.

NAM 4K Radar forecast for Weds AM (Higher resolution model)

NAM 4K Radar forecast for Weds AM (Higher resolution model)

Model guidance has a strong low pressure system crossing the Rockies of Colorado today. As often the case with these types of storms, the mountains tend to shred the energy as the storm system crosses the divide. What becomes important to us is where the energy re-strengthens; the NAM 4k shows the low re-developing over Northwest Kansas into Wednesday morning. The positioning here will be important as any shift could have big implications for how much show we get along the front range.

The low will usher in colder air overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday and as it does so, it will wrap moisture back around the Western side of the storm system.

NAM 4K

NAM 4K snowfall forecast

This is shown quite well on all models with snowfall taking a heavier track across Eastern Colorado, Northeastern Colorado and into Nebraska. I think those areas will have the biggest impact from this storm.

Upslope Vs. Downslope will Make or Break This Storm

classic-downslope-event

In weather we all know that upslope causes rising air and thus moisture on windward side of the mountains. The leeward side is punctuated by sinking air, this causes it to compress and warm and it moves down the slopes and generally dries out the atmosphere. This is an important thing to know for Colorado as it can dictate our weather quite frequently.

Let’s look at the  NAM4K snowfall model:

NAM 4K

NAM 4K

Notice the bulk of the snowfall falls across the Eastern plains and there is a noticeable lack of snow right along the front range. This is a strong down-slope signal and it shows up pretty clearly here. What I’ll be watching for in Tuesday’s model runs is does that dry spot disappear or intensify. This is ultimately going to depend on where the models think the Low will set up over Kansas. If it should back off to the West a bit or South, up-slope flow will enhance along the front range and we will get more snow.

Should the low shift North or East, we will see stronger down-slope along the front range which means our snowfall accumulation could greatly diminish. As is often the case with these snow storms in Colorado, it’s all about location, location, location!

The National Weather Service’s latest statement echoes this concern:

AT THIS TIME AS MODELS ARE STILL NOT LOCKING ON TO A STEADY SOLUTION OF THE HEAVIER SNOW…WITH THE LATEST GFS DOUBLING ITS AMOUNTS OF QPF NEAR THE FRONT RANGE WHILE THE NAM MOVED THE HEAVIER PRECIP EAST OVER THE EASTERN PLAINS. ONE COMMON FEATURE IS THE DOWNSLOPING SIGNATURE ALONG THE FOOTHILLS AND NORTHERN FRONT RANGE URBAN AREAS AS NORTHWEST FLOW WILL DOWNSLOPE OUT. THE QUESTION IS HOW MUCH AS IT DOES LOOK LIKE THERE WILL BE A SMALL WINDOW WHERE WINDS UP THROUGH MOUNTAIN TOP MAY TURN UPSLOPE BETWEEN SUNRISE AND NOON.

For what it’s worth, here was a look at the SREF ensembles this morning for snowfall at Centennial Airport:

SREF_0322_2016

You can see the mean is right in that 4-8 inch range, so I’m sticking with that for the western Palmer Divide area (Castle Rock, Parker, Monument, etc…)

It should be interesting to see how this storm develops with so much inconsistency between the major models. I expect the forecast to change drastically at some point on Tuesday with either much more snow than anticipated or a total collapse of this system from down-sloping and we’ll be looking at a dusting at best. This is why weather is so interesting, every storm is different!

Mar 21

Tracking Our Next Storm; Unsettled Week Ahead

Last week’s snowstorm brought some beneficial moisture to the front range and it looks like we are on track to possible get more as we look to an unsettled week ahead. We are tracking two storm systems this week, one late Tuesday into Wednesday and another sometime next weekend. As expected for this time of the year, models are bouncing around quite a bit, even on the storm Tuesday/Wednesday. I’ll discuss mainly the mid-week storm in this post, but will have a look at the weekend’s possible storm later this week as it’s still a bit early to look into that particular setup.

Monday March 21

GFS low level setup at 11AM Monday 3/21

GFS lower air setup Monday as of 11am

A high pressure ridge that begin building over Colorado on Sunday will continue to dominate our weather on Monday and most of Tuesday. This means Westerly and Southwesterly down-sloping winds will keep Colorado’s front range very warm and breezy throughout both days. Expect temperatures in the 70’s on Monday and in the mid 60’s on Tuesday.

Approaching Storm System

As we move into Tuesday evening, things begin to change to our west, this will mean windy conditions along the front range as our storm system begins to set up over the Great Basin.

GFS low level setup Tuesday 5pm

GFS low level setup Tuesday 5pm

As we move into the overnight hours on Tuesday the storm begins to take shape in the Western U.S.:

GFS as of 11pm Tuesday night, the storm begins to take shape over Western U.S.

GFS as of 11pm Tuesday night, the storm begins to take shape over Western U.S.

The big question here is once the trough (low pressure) sets up West of Colorado, where exactly does it move when it crosses the divide? We know that the track and speed of storms like this make the difference between no snow, several inches of snow and several feet of snow. The GFS model doesn’t exactly pick this up until Wednesday morning and when it does it positions it too far Northeast to affect the front range of Colorado (as seen below):

GFS position of the low Weds morning 5am

GFS position of the low Weds morning 5am

So you would think this is pretty open and shut and we should not expect much of a storm on Wednesday for Colorado’s front range… then along comes the EURO model. This model has been extremely accurate this year, much more so than some of the American and Canadian models.

Euro model low positioning Tuesday night

Euro model low positioning Tuesday night

Summary

I’m not ready to post any snowfall totals just yet regarding this storm because models still don’t have a good grasp on how this storm system sets up. Until you have a better idea of where the low sets up, you can’t reliably start forecasting snow. I know the TV stations will start to jump on this and spit out some snow totals but please take all of that with a grain of salt.

At this time the storm is still 50/50 between something significant (blizzard type spring snowstorm) and nothing at all.

I’ll be posting quite a few updates on this storm today and Tuesday as we should get a better idea of what this storm is doing as more data comes in. Please stay tuned for updates as I’ll relay any information as the forecast changes.

Takeaway

Keep a close eye on this one if planning travel late Tuesday and all day Wednesday. Be prepared to adjust plans if this storm comes together.

 

Mar 19

Winter Storm Snowfall Totals and Recap

The latest storm to impact the front range of Colorado behaved pretty much as we predicted. We expected to end up in the 3-6 inch range for the Castle Rock area and most locations around town received between 3-4 inches of snow. The storm moved through with some intense bursts of snow early Friday morning, snow showers lingered into the afternoon and eventually the storm moved out on Friday afternoon.

Generally, we liked the forecast on this one. The NWS upgraded our Winter Weather Advisory to a Winter Storm Warning, predicting the heavy snow bands would drop 5-10 inches of snow for us and I briefly considered upping my own forecast. After a look outside at our accumulation as of the morning and a look at some model guidance and the speed and track of the storm, I decided against upping my own snowfall forecast.

Now, a quick look at officially reported snowfall totals.

Reported Snowfall Totals

Saturday will be chilly with a few additional bands of snow moving in, overall accumulation will be very light. Sunday and Monday, look for warming temperatures, sunny skies and lots of melting snow!

I’ll have an update early next week regarding our next storm system, slated to move through on Wednesday and a look at the unsettled weather pattern that may begin to affect us for the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

 

Mar 17

Winter Weather Advisory and Snow on The Way!

The Winter Storm we have been tracking all week has gone from looking monstrous last week, to less an impressive early this week to pretty decent by this morning. This time of the year, models really seem to struggle with storm setups and this one is no exception.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of the front range of Colorado. This includes the cities of Castle Rock, Parker, Elizabeth, Highlands Ranch, etc… The advisory begins Thursday night at 6pm and lasts until Friday 6pm. This advisory mentions periods of heavier snowfall and cold temperatures making for tough travel conditions especially on Friday morning.

See Also: Current Weather Watches/Warnings/Advisories

What to Expect

This latest storm is beginning to move into the area this morning, the low pressure system is currently meandering through Denver and to the South. If you are in Castle Rock and look to the North, you’ll notice the clouds beginning to move in.

This afternoon expect precipitation to fall as rain at first but quickly chance over to snow at some point in the late evening to nighttime hours.

8PM radar forecast

8PM radar forecast

Depending on the timing of this, the rush on Thursday evening could be a bit tricky, should it slow down or stay as rain expect just we roads, but should things move a bit quicker you can probably expect some slushy roadways.

Friday morning’s commute looks to be the main impact. Snowfall is projected to continue overnight and into Friday morning. Snow should be ongoing through mid-day Friday and with cold temperatures building in and moderate snowfall rate the roads will most likely be icy and snow packed.

Storm Total Accumulation: 3-6 inches for Castle Rock **Some areas may see up to 8 inches in the immediate area with areas East of town most likely.

Impacts: Road conditions will deteriorate Thursday night. Travel on Friday morning will be tough and with snow expected through the day, road conditions could remain tricky through the afternoon.

Time frame: Expect to see rain by Thursday afternoon changing to snow in the late afternoon to evening hours. Snowfall will continue overnight through Friday morning and into Friday afternoon.

Synopsis

A low pressure system is dipping to the South over Colorado. Originally when we looked at this earlier in the week it was predicted it would move to the South further west, not allowing good up slope moisture to establish and meaning a light to no snow event for most across the front range. This morning’s model runs show the low in a more favorable position:

Predicted position of the Low as of this morning

Predicted position of the Low as of this morning

Model guidance has adjusted snowfall accordingly this morning and while this is still not the best position for a high snowfall event, the track of the low coupled with the storm system slowing a bit will mean we should see decent snowfall accumulation.

Models I’ve targeted in on are the GFS and NAM:

GFS 24 hour snowfall totals

GFS 24 hour snowfall totals

NAM 24 hour snowfall totals

NAM 24 hour snowfall totals

The biggest difference I see between the two is the NAM brings the snow in earlier and keeps it around a bit longer, thusly it is predicting slightly higher snowfall numbers. One of these two will be relatively correct, a quicker moving storm and later change to snow means the GFS looks more accurate. A quicker change to snow Thursday afternoon and a slowing of the storm would suggest the NAM would be closer. As a weather nerd, this will be interesting to watch.

Meanwhile, the SREF ensembles show this for snowfall totals:

SREF_03182106

The mean of all the models run showed right around 5-6 inches for Centennial Airport and similar for Monument. Since there is no model run specifically for Castle Rock and I have to take into account our higher altitude and more favorable terrain for up slope I usually take the average between the two. In this case, since they are almost spot on with each other this would make me lean towards the NAM and say we could see somewhere in the 5-7 inch range when it’s all said and done.

The other thing is when you see things not agree this close to the time the storm arrives it throws a bit of red flag up for uncertainty. I’m highly confident we will see accumulating snow in the Castle Rock area tonight and Friday. The big question is will we stay on track for 3-6 inches, do I need to bump the forecast up to 4-8 or does it fall apart at the last minute. Spring snowfall events along Colorado’s front range are notoriously tricky.

Should be interesting to watch, in the meantime stay tuned here at MountainWave Weather and I’ll pass along any changes to the forecast this afternoon.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, cheers!

 

Mar 15

Cooler Weather and Snow Return to Colorado Front Range

A strong cold front moved through the area on Monday and caused very strong winds and a noticeable temperature drop for many of us along the front range. This is the beginning of a short period of unsettled weather that will last throughout the week.

The Setup This Week

The upper level jet stream has oriented into an West/East fashion and will mainly stay between that and a Northwesterly orientation throughout the week.

300mbconus

This means different things for different areas of Colorado:

  • This is a favorable storm track for snowfall in the mountains, we saw the beginning of this last night as many mountain areas (mainly North of I-70) picked up a foot of snow or more. Mountain areas will continue to see on and off snow showers through the week.
  • The front range will see cooler temperatures but overall dry conditions. A setup like this does not allow the warm air we have been seeing to establish itself over the Eastern half of the state.

The proof is in the temperature modeling for the next few days:

Tuesday March 16 forecast temperatures by 11AM

Tuesday March 15 forecast temperatures by 2PM

Wednesday March 16 forecast temperatures by 2PM

Wednesday March 16 forecast temperatures by 2PM

Thursday March 17 forecast temperatures by 2PM

Thursday March 17 forecast temperatures by 2PM

Friday March 18 forecast temperatures by 2PM

Friday March 18 forecast temperatures by 2PM

Notice the cooler temperatures, generally 40’s and 50’s across the front range. While I wouldn’t consider these “cold” temperatures for this time of year, it is certainly cooler than what we have seen over the better part of the past month or two.

What About the Snow?

At this time there looks to be enough energy to squeeze out some moisture for some of us along the front range in the late Thursday into Friday time frame. Honestly, that this point the storm system does not look that impressive, the orientation of the jet stream (as I discussed above) and the positioning of the storm center (too far South) will not be conducive to a major snow storm.

I will continue to track the modeling for changes as sometimes these storms can fool us, but as of right now it looks like 0-3 inches is the most likely snow total amount for Castle Rock and areas South of Denver through Friday afternoon.

gfssnowfall_fri03182016c

The GFS shows about 1-1.5 inches of snow for us South of Denver and this is the highest any model is predicting. Most models have total accumulation under an inch, so we may see little to no snowfall accumulation overall.

 Cooler and Wetter Period Establishing or Short Lived?

300mbconus

I’ve put this image up again, the jet stream position as of Friday March 18. I talked earlier about the Northwest flow establishing over the state but another interesting feature to note is the ridge building once again off to our West. This to me signals that this cooler and slightly wetter period will be short lived, a ridge re-establishing to our West will allow that warm and dry air to filter back into Colorado by the end of the weekend.

To verify this I took a look at the projected temperatures next week and saw a lot of 60’s and 70’s again so this seems to be in line with my thinking.

Additionally, I’m beginning to be a bit concerned about our prospect of a wet March. The CPC’s outlook for the next 6-10 and 8-14 days shows this:

CPC's 6-10 day Precipitation probability outlook

CPC’s 6-10 day Precipitation probability outlook

CPC's 8-14 day Precipitation probability outlook

CPC’s 8-14 day Precipitation probability outlook

Again, a dry March does not break the entire spring season for us but it does create a bigger hole we need to dig out of. We will continue to watch this pattern closely for any changes but I’ll end this post with an interesting fact:

Aprx. Date of Last Significant Snowfall: February 2, 2016

Total Snowfall Recorded for March 2016: 0.5 in.

Average Snowfall for March: 14.7 in.

For March 2016 we are 14.2 inches below normal for snowfall as of right now!

 

 

Mar 12

John Braddock Visits Cimarron Middle School

Special thanks to my storm chase partner: Chris Moccio, for this photo.

Special thanks to my storm chase partner: Chris Moccio, for this photo.

I had the great privilege of visiting Cimarron Middle School in Parker Colorado this past Thursday. Presenting to a class that was beginning a weather unit, I presented on the tools and trade of meteorology, how weather works including fronts, pressure and maps.

Additionally I talked about what it takes to become a storm chaser, how learning about weather and forecasting is important and even showed some pictures from this past month’s Storm Chaser Convention in Norman Oklahoma. I think the highlight for the class was the showcase of storm chase vehicle and tornado pictures that I put up and spoke about. A lot of schools are beginning to take a closer look at weather as it is now spring in Colorado and one of the most exciting times of year to observe and learn about weather in the state.

I had an absolute blast doing it and although I was cut a bit short due to a fire drill… ugh. I still enjoyed it quite a bit and it seems like the class enjoyed it as well.

 

Being my first public speaking engagement on meteorology I was joined by two good friends, my storm chase partner Chris Moccio (left) and very good friend Tom Santana (right.) Thanks for accompanying me guys!

10152515_10102672429741363_3496074653618464828_n

 

Mar 11

Weekend Weather Planner March 11- 13

WinterWxWeekendOutlook_Mar11-13-2016CR

So far, our snowiest month in Colorado is turning out to be extremely dry and warm for almost the entire state. The good news is that we still have quite a few days left in the month so it’s not time to get worried just yet. Many models have been predicting the second half of the month to be cooler and wetter and as of right now there is nothing signaling the contrary.

March has been extremely dry:

PRISM_ppt_early_4kmD2_MTD_20160310

You can see a lot of white, oranges and reds across Colorado. Many areas east of the continental divide have seen 0-.1 inches of precipitation so far; this amounts to 0-1 inches of snow. Quite a surprise considering we average well over a foot of snow for the month. As a side note; many areas South of Denver (Castle Rock, Parker, Elizabeth, etc…) average between 14-16 inches of snow for the month of March. I emphasize again, there is still a lot of days left in the month but we are beginning to dig a hole and the further we get behind the more difficult it will be to catch up.

The mountains have done slightly better, most areas have seen between 2-8 inches of snow, which sounds like quite a bit but these areas are still well below average. Snow pack in the state has been falling:

swetimepeakark16

The snow pack statewide is down into the 80% range which is getting a bit low. Many areas saw extreme dryness in February and that trend has continued into March.

The good news is the storm track looks to get more active shortly for the mountains, as soon as this weekend their snow pack situation should be helped by a series of storms moving in. The same can’t be said for Denver as it still looks to remain dry, minus one storm we are watching late in the week. This storm unfortunately, looked very promising with earlier model runs is looking less impressive every day.

In the meantime, enjoy the wonderful weather this weekend and I’ll have another update and look at the weather next week on Monday night. Cheers!