Thursday, January 6, 2011
Local Forecast for the Upcoming Weekend
I hope everyone has been enjoying the mostly sunny, but cold weather we've been having this past week since the departure of the last storm system over New Years. This week's weather pattern has consisted of surface high pressure sitting to our west over Utah and Idaho, and an upper level ridge building in over the region. We are currently sitting in a northwesterly flow, with a fairly tight pressure gradient and this has caused breezy winds in some locations, mainly in the mountains and foothills of Colorado, and of course in almost all locations in Wyoming. These gusty winds will last through this evening, and overnight, but conditions will calm down considerably for Friday and early Saturday, as the upper level ridge traverses over Colorado and Wyoming. High temperatures for Friday will be about as warm as today for the Front Range, in the mid 40's, but with change on the way, they will be starting to fall on Saturday, only getting to the upper 30s.
Saturday night is when the pattern starts to break down and the weather will begin to change. A cold front will move through the region sometime in the overnight hours, so high temperatures on Sunday will be considerably cooler, reaching only the lower 30's. All of the models are in agreement with precipitation beginning sometime on Sunday. The Canadian model has the Front Range getting snow starting early Sunday morning and lasting off and on through late Monday night. The GFS forecast model shows precipitation starting to fall later Sunday morning, at 18UTC, or 11 am standard time. The GFS is also predicting the snowfall to be more steady and not as sporadic as the Canadian shows. The NAM seems to be more in agreement with the Canadian, and has us missing out on a lot of the snow. As it gets closer to the weekend, we will have to see how the models evolve and which one ends up being more accurate. The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center puts out QPF (quantitative precipitation forecast) amounts for each day up to 5 days out, with various time periods available. This graphic is for 00Z Sun through 00z Monday, which is 5pm Saturday through 5pm Sunday in standard time.
Based on this graphic, precipitation amounts of a tenth to a quarter of an inch are possible. So only an inch or two of actually snowfall is expected with this storm. Not quite as good as last weekends storm, but it is still weather! Almost all of Texas, and parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi look to be having some interesting weather this weekend as well.
After the cold front moves through and the precipitation moves off to the East, another arctic air mass will move in for the start of the week. Thicknesses will be decreasing considerably, with Colorado seeing heights as low as 522mb. This image is a 1000-500mb thickness map with precipitation. It is valid for Tuesday at 06z, which is 11am on Tuesday morning. That looks to be the coldest part of the week, with overnight lows on Monday night possibly reaching the negative teens. High temperatures will be in the teens for Monday and Tuesday, before warming to the mid 20's for Wednesday.
That is what the next week or so will look like for us here in Colorado. A fairly typical winter type pattern of precipitation followed by high pressure and arctic air.
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Have a great rest of the week and a good weekend!