Forecast Discussion:

Before we look at our very small chance of snow Saturday night, let’s look at the season snowfall to date (Figure 1). My home, in NE Longmont, has received 45.2 inches of snow since September (that is amazing to me too). That matches the purple shade for Longmont in this figure. Places in the mountains have received tremendous amounts of snow. Overall, the state is at 111% of normal as snow fall goes. Good news.

Today (Saturday) temperatures return to just somewhat below normal for the date – Figure 2 (about 48°F for today). The cool front passes around 3 pm.

The longer range forecast:

Figure 3 is the upper-air pattern for Sunday showing a trough passing and a deeper one approaching from the west. The problem is there is little moisture expected to be available to the system east of the Rockies. The mountains will keep getting shot after shot of new snow. The surface map for Sunday am (Figure 4) shows precipitation remaining over the western slopes and higher mountains and northern Colorado Rockies. We ‘may’ see some snow sneak off, but it won’t be much. Figure 5 is the GFS take on snowfall over the next 5 days. We have a coating to 1 inch touching the eastern side of the town and just down the road in Boulder.

After this weekend, we bounce around in the 30’s F and 40’s F with our next chance of snow coming Thursday. More on that later!

Figure 1: Snowfall totals posted on Twitter by Matt Makins.
Figure 2: The forecast temperature departure from normal map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, Saturday noon.
Figure 3: The 500mb forecast upper air analysis for Sunday AM. Pink dot is Longmont. Red lines are troughs, blue lines are ridges.
Figure 4: The forecast surface map for Sunday AM. From NCEP.
Figure 5: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, through Wednesday (5 days out).
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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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