Forecast Discussion:

High pressure and beautiful (if not unusually warm and dry) skies keep on happening (Figure 1). Our next storm is bashing itself apart against the west coast of North America.

Figure 1: The forecast surface map for Wednesday PM. From NCEP.

The longer range forecast:

When that storm arrives, a weak front will interact with some moisture and give the plains a bit more of a precipitation chance than we’ve had since just after Christmas. Friday, we might get some measurable precipitation. Weatherunderground’s model (Figure 2) labels it as rain, but temperatures will be near the 30’s F and will lower once precipitation starts to fall, so it will probably fall as snow. Not much snow though… Figure 3, the GFS suggests a coating to 1 inch around Longmont. Looking out 10 days, that is our only chance here. Figure 4 has the same snow amount for us, but more snow on the western slopes and high mountains (great for them!).

A bonus: an ensemble run from weatherbell looking out 16 days gives us 2-3 inches of snow over the next two weeks. I’m still waiting for that big winter to start! (Figure 5)

Figure 2: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days forecast for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
Figure 3: The forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, for the next 5 days (through end of weekend).
Figure 4: The forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, for the next 10 days.
Figure 5: The forecast accumulated snow map from weatherbell.com for the U.S., for the next 16 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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