Forecast Discussion:

We just have a couple of days of ‘warm’ weather to enjoy before the CHANGE. Our stationary front on the Plains is still close by and has wandered west, responding to small passing upper air short waves, overnight the past couple of nights. It has delivered clouds, freezing fog, and bits of snow (Figure 1). It could happen again today.

Figure 2 – we enjoy 50’sF after the morning fog burns off (if it wanders west). All the action happens in the longer range forecast.

The longer range forecast:

The weatherunderground model (Figure 2) has jumped on the snowy bandwagon now with 4-6″ over the weekend and maybe another inch or so on Monday. You can watch the animation of the slosh and pulses of very cold air moving down past the Front Range over the next 10 days in Figure 3. To zoom in in time and space (Figure 4) – the coldest air is in place Sunday afternoon when we are some 30 to 35 degrees F below normal Notice that the neighboring mountains are near normal due to the VERY shallow nature of this extremely cold air.

The GFS has increased the 10 day snow total to around 10 inches (Figure 5). The GEM 10 day total is around 6-8 inches. Note that both models give the higher mountains over a yard of snow. This might be the Winter we have been waiting for!

Figure 1: The forecast surface map for Thursday evening from NCEP.
Figure 2 the graphical forecast for the next 10 days for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
Figure 3: Animated GIF of the forecast temperature departure from normal map from the GFS and weather5280.com for the U.S. for the next 10 days.
Figure 4: The forecast temperature departure from normal map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, Sunday noon.
Figure 5: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, through the next 10 days.
Figure 6: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GEM and tropicaltidbits.com for Colorado, through the next 10 days.
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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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