The State of the Atmosphere for Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reporting on the state of the atmosphere is beginning to feel a bit redundant as each week looks identical to the last. The state of the atmosphere is frustrating if you're hoping for a snowy winter in Denver and the much of the west. The state of the atmosphere is cold and at times snowy if you live in the east.

With a dominant ridge in the west, the northwesterly flow aloft becomes the biggest weather maker for Colorado. While generally unfavorable for snow in Denver (just wind!), the flow can produce good snow for the high country, especially in the northern and central mountains. We saw this late last week and again today as Winter Storm Warnings and advisories are once again in effect for places like Steamboat Springs and the I-70 corridor.

After Monday, even the mountains will quiet down. The coming week should be mostly uneventful statewide for weather as ridging off the northwest coast pushes inland a bit and drives the trough even further east. Take a look at the ECMWF day 1 - 6 mean 500 heights, then the day 10 - 15 day. Ridge in the west, trough in the east.

While the Pacific northwest finally got several days of heavy rain and snow last week, California was less fortunate, and the next 10+ days look to be largely the same.

January isn't typically all that snowy for Denver. The long running average for snowfall in Denver during January is just 6.6 inches. This year we are just about at average with 6.0 inches recorded so far at Denver International Airport. For the season, however, the city is still well below normal with just 14.1 inches of snow. In a typical year, Denver ends January with 27.8 inches of snow on the season.

We are continuing to look for a big shift in the pattern across the United States, but it does not appear as though this is the week.

Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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