Tuesday PM Update: Weekend Storm Discussion

As discussed in this week’s State of the Atmosphere, our next storm system will finally bring a change to the state by this weekend, with at least a chance for some snow across eastern Colorado by late Saturday into early Sunday. Here’s a quick update on where things stand with regard to this approaching storm system.

Our system is still off west coast, and with that we’ll continue to see swings in the models between now and the weekend. It’s due to move inland by Wednesday night, bringing heavy rain and snow to California to end the week. Here’s a look at the 18z GFS 6 hour precip + type for overnight Thursday.

Weather5280 Models

If nothing else, this pattern has been awesome for California. This next system will again deliver widespread rain to the state, with Blizzard Warnings and the potential for 15”+ of snow for the higher elevations of the state.

Ahead of our system it’ll be warm. 50s and 60s in the forecast for eastern Colorado through Friday. Here’s a look at rather warm 2 meter maximum temperatures Friday afternoon.

Weather5280 Models

By the weekend, things start to get interesting. Models have jumped around quite a bit over the last few days, but there has been decent consensus between operational models and their ensembles over the last few runs.

The GFS, Canadian, and EURO all have a strong upper level closed low moving across the region Saturday into Sunday now. Placement varies, but as of today’s model runs the GFS is furthest south with the upper level feature (though it too is further north at 18z), while the EURO/GEM were just a bit further north. All three models are in decent agreement with their ensembles which adds a bit of confidence to how this might play out.

Models are currently favoring areas from Denver’s south (Palmer Divide) and southern Colorado for highest snowfall totals, but we don’t think Denver is entirely in the clear quite yet. In fact, enough is ‘looking right’ with this system that it really needs to be watched over the coming days. Good agreement between models, a moisture-laden storm, and a pretty solid (albeit slightly fluctuating) forecast track has our attention.

Another development over recent runs has been a progression toward a more negatively tilted trough, also what you’d like to see if you’re looking for a good storm over eastern Colorado. Should models continue to see the trough evolving this way, it also may help jog the main feature just a bit further north. Again, something to watch.

The long and the short of it: it’s still a ways out, but certainly something to watch. At face value, models are holding off on producing heavy snow in Denver, but we think there is plenty of reason to not totally discount the potential for accumulating snow in Denver. It’s been a long, dry few weeks if no other reason; let’s be honest.

If this one busts, the GFS says there will be more chances. Wave train continues through the end of the month?

WeatherBell Analytics

You’re likely to hear a lot of conflicting forecasts for this weekend over the coming days; our suggestion: take each one with a grain of salt over the next few days. There is little sense in getting too married to one model solution or another at this point. We’ll keep you posted on all the developments with this system over the coming days, in the mean time enjoy the weather! If you’ve not yet subscribed to Weather5280, now is a good time to do so.

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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