Forecast Discussion:

We keep warming up (even if we get windy at times) this weekend as the super-cold slides northeast out of the U.S. over the next couple of days.  Easy come, easy go? (Figure 1). The big ridge overhead is the force responsible for our comfort as is the corresponding departing trough out east (Figure 2).

The ripple in the jet stream to our south will be associated with some storminess that will bring snow to the western slopes into the later weekend. We stay dry down on the Plains (Figure 3 and 4).  Even Estes Park is expected to receive only some rain on Sunday. That is unusual February warmth!

The longer range forecast:

Things are still looking cool and mostly cloudy in Punxsutawney, Pa for this morning (we’ll see what the guys in the top hats say) and clear locally, though clouds form as moisture in the mid levels slips over the Rockies from that approaching western storm (Figure 5). The models are all over the place concerning our midweek snow chances, so don’t place any bets yet.  The weather undergroundmodel gives us 1-3 inches.  But, really, anything is on the table from 0 to 6 inches at this point.  You’ll have to come back later to find out!

 

Figure 1: the current temperatures chart from Friday PM from weatherunderground.com
Figure 2: NCEP 500 mb upper air map from Friday PM. Blue lines are ridges, red lines are troughs.
Figure 3: The forecast surface map for Saturday night. From NCEP.
Figure 4: The forecast surface map for Sunday AM. From NCEP.
Figure 5: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
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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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