The State of the Atmosphere: Monday, November 30, 2015

Snowfall totals; November recap
We end November with pretty good snowfall numbers for the region all things considered. November delivered 11.3" of snow for Denver officially, which is 150% of average for the month. Since the city recorded goose eggs in September and October for snow, this brings the season-to-date snowfall to 11.3" as well, which is just 1.4" below normal to end the month of November.

For temperatures, November will end at just about average for Denver and much of eastern Colorado. Through the 29th, DIA is running 0.4° above normal, which may come down a touch with temperatures remaining below normal today. Nationally, as is so often the case, Colorado was split between a warm eastern U.S. and a cold west:

November 2015 temperature anomalies | WeatherBell Analytics

The forecast for last night's snowfall worked out very well. Couple that with a wild Broncos victory and November is going out on a high note. Our station recorded 2.0" of snow (forecast: Trace - 3"), with DIA recording 1.3" for Denver's official tally. Here are a few other snowfall totals from around the area and their forecasts:

  • 5mi SSE Aurora: Total: 2.6", Forecast: 1 - 4"
  • 2mi WSW Northglenn: Total: 1.4", Forecast: Trace - 3"
  • 3mi WSW Roxborough Park: Total: 4.0", Forecast: 1 - 4"
  • 4mi ENE Nederland: Total: 1.0", Forecast: 1 - 4"
  • 2mi WSW Byers: Total: 2.0", Forecast: Trace - 3"
  • Firestone: Total: 1.0", Forecast Trace - 2"
  • 4mi NNW Castle Rock: Total: 4.3", Forecast: 1 - 4"
  • 2mi N Longmont: Total: 0.3", Forecast: Trace - 2"

No busts (that we could find!).

To start December
Tomorrow, December 1st, marks the start of meteorological winter. Our weather, however, will go from rather wintry to more of a quiet and warmer pattern as we head deeper into the week. Outside of some wind today and tomorrow along the Front Range (lookout blowing snow!), this week looks pretty quiet weather-wise for the state, at least through Friday.

By Thursday ridging is pretty well established over Colorado:

Tropical Tidbits

Ahead of, what at this time, looks like a weak and moisture-starved system due in for the weekend:

CMC 500mb height anomaly next Saturday night | Tropical Tidbits

Generally a sea of red forecast by most of the ensembles next weekend for the United States, with really only the EURO deterministic showing any snow out of the system forecast to track to our south Saturday and Sunday. So for now, something to keep an eye on, but not looking too remarkable for the time being.

The first 10 days of the month in general look much quieter than we have been in awhile for the state. Beyond that I think there's still more of a question mark. Last week I picked Dec 10 - 13 as the next timeframe to watch for something, but even that may be a stretch at this point. You'll be hard-pressed to find any indication of something too stormy and cold before then, with good agreement between the models and little teleconnection support to say otherwise.

What we do see starting to ramp up over the next weeks is the southern storm track, so while this weekend's system appears like no-big-deal, it bears watching. The ones after that may be more impressive, but then the question becomes if they'll stay too far south for northeast Colorado to get in the action.

While we very well may be settling in to a more "typical" winter-month El Niño pattern, I'm not quite ready to call this month a dud for northeast Colorado. Still some troughing indicated in the long range, coupled with a more active southern storm track, and perhaps some cooler temps by the latter half of the month, and the storm door remains open – or at least cracked.

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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