Forecast Discussion:

We are back in a quiet and above average (temperature) pattern with high pressure over the state (Figure 1). There isn’t much to say about it except that a storm is again passing to our south (1) while the storm behind it (2) will crash into our western mountain slopes again by the end of the week.

Figure 1: The forecast surface map for Monday PM. From NCEP.The longer range forecast:

The storm (1 – Figure 2) passing to the south isn’t a blip on the radar for us.  Storm 2 has a chance of giving us some snow Friday. There is another storm in the distant 10 day forecast, but let’s not get excited THAT far out yet.   Figure 3 shows the widespread snow across the northern Rockies, western Colorado and Midwest with this storm and an arctic front headed out of Canada. Figure 4, the GFS, though, suggests that while the western slopes will see widespread 1-foot snow amounts, Longmont is in a hole of nothingness.  We’ll keep watching it as the week goes on.  (I want snow!  *falls to ground and kicks feet having a fit…*)

Figure 2: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days forecast for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
Figure 3: Forecast highs and precipitation type for the U.S. for Friday Jan 18th from the Weather Channel.
Figure 4: The forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, for the next 6 days through Saturday 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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