Forecast Discussion:

As the cold air slips away, I need to confess that I’ve been downplaying our actual next storm (Wed/Thur) since it looks like very little will occur in town. It does look like at least a ‘bit’ of an impact is possible. Figure 1 shows the next big Pacific soaker on its way in to the western states. The mountains get more snow (like Estes Park, which will be getting 2-4 inches on top of its big snow pack). The main trough is off the West Coast, but a little ripple is traveling downstream for Wednesday/Thursday (Figure 2 – short red line over Colorado).

Figure 3 shows period of snow lasting only about 4 hours. The GFS gives us a coating to 1/2 inch of snow Wednesday night (Figure 4). The NAM, in Figure 5, shows the snow staying off to the west by a few miles. The GEM (Figure 6), like the GFS, gives us a coating to 1/2 inch.

The longer range forecast:

The longer range forecast shows 50’s F until the weekend when we only cool to the mid 40’s F. There is another mini-storm for Friday PM (rain showers in the afternoon maybe?). Remember, don’t forecast the next next storm until the next storm is done.

Figure 1: The forecast surface map for Wednesday noon from NCEP.
Figure 2: The forecast 500mb map of heights equal pressure created by the GFS and weather5280.com for Thursday noon.
Figure 3: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
Figure 4: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, through the next 2 days.
Figure 5: the forecast accumulated snow map from the NAM and tropicaltidbits.com for Colorado, through the next 2 days.
Figure 6: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GEM and tropicaltidbits.com for Colorado, through the next 2 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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