Forecast Discussion:

So much moisture is coming to the west (still), but so little will fall around us. Figure 1 shows the western slopes and higher mountain locations getting a wide range of winter weather… and it shows us staying quite dry.

The graphical forecast in Figure 2 shows clouds Saturday evening into Sunday am, but very low chances of precipitation (nothing measurable from this model).

We do get briefly cooler in the short term. By Monday (Figure 3) we’ll be about 10°F below normal before warming up towards normal again. The GFS shows getting dusting to a coating through Monday am (Figure 4) while the NAM (Figure 5) puts a coating on the west side of town. It does not seem to be anything to write home about.

The longer range forecast:

Back to Figure 2, the Monday snow chances are a fraction of the snow chances tonight (Sat) into Sunday. Very small, in other words. We get cloudy for the morning to mark the additional snow falling in the mountains. Later in the week, Thursday pm, there is a storm worth keeping our eyes on, then a bigger pattern change next weekend with measurable snow noted. I try not to get excited about the next-next storm until the next storm passes, so we’ll watch these all week.

Figure 1: The forecast surface map for Sunday AM. From NCEP.
Figure 2: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
Figure 3: The forecast temperature departure from normal map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, Monday noon.
Figure 4: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, through Tuesday PM.
Figure 5: the forecast accumulated snow map from the NAM and tropicaltidbits.com for Colorado, through Tuesday PM.
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John Ensworth works from Longmont as the Principle Investigator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate Earth and space science education product review through the IGES (The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies – www.strategies.org) . He is in his 14th year running this review. He is an astronomer (from the 2nd grade onward) and became a meteorologist (in the 5th grade) when a thunderstorm in Arizona rained on his telescope when the weather service had only forecasted a 10% chance of rain. He has college degrees in physics and astronomy and climatology and a graduate degree in meteorology and earth science. He lectures at the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, the Estes Park Memorial Observatory in Estes Park, and for a number of online universities. He built and runs a backyard observatory near Pace and 17th in northeast Longmont where he has lived for 8 years with his wife, daughter, son, and two cats. Invitations to open house nights at this observatory, LTO, and EPMO will be posted with future discussions when they are scheduled. Forecasting severe weather and snow amounts via text lead to this column. He began texting friends about the weather right after the September 2013 flood. The readers of this column will, hopefully, keep him honest in what he ‘thought’ he had forecasted for ‘the most recent’ storm.

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