Forecast Discussion:

With this next system approaching this afternoon, I’m posting early. Again.

This system is quite similar to the mid-week storm. Another good coating of snow hits the Western slopes and high mountains while some rain (this time) and snow and ice sweeps the I-25 corridor briefly.

You can see the system in the surface map for early Saturday morning – Figure 1. Near the end of the precipitation, around midnight, temperatures are still just a bit above freezing. It still may put down snow and ice where heavier precipitation comes down (Figure 2). Winds will make it feel colder and will make Saturday morning uncomfortable. Figure 3 shows gusty winds scraping the foothills overnight up to about noon Saturday (also visible in the winds graph at the bottom of Figure 2). (Note, even a few thunderstorms are possible anywhere over Colorado too!)

Figure 4 suggests a coating to an inch of snow IS possible (I’d vote for the coating to 1/4 inch end, personally, for Longmont). Figure 5 shows us getting .05 to 0.25 inch of rain with this system.

The longer range forecast:

Winds calm down and we have a mild dry weekend later Saturday. The Tuesday/Wednesday storm is all over the place in the models. One model run gives us a bunch of rain (like the weatherunderground.com model does in this instance – Figure 2). Others give us a big March winter storm with blizzard conditions out on the eastern Plain. Others give us nothing but gusty winds and cloudy skies. You’ll have to come back to find out more!

Figure 1: The forecast surface map for Saturday early morning from NCEP.
Figure 2: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
Figure 3: the forecast winds and pressure map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, for Saturday early morning.
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 precipitation (rain too) map from the GFS and weather5280.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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