12/28/06 FCST: CO (WINTER PRECIP)

Well, i think its time to start this thread going. Looks like CO will receive the brunt of this one once again, with a little too much warm air to the east, although that could certainly change. I missed chasing the last event due to work, but im off this time and plan on chasing, as it looks like this should have similar potential to last weeks, and it should be REAL interesting if we can double the snow depth with this one! :eek:
Just like last time, i will have low confidence in a target until 12 h. before the event. Anything is possible with these stinkin cutoffs. Topography rules in CO and the slightest shift in winds will make a huge difference. Case in point: the 00Z NAM progged close to 40 inches for the sangres/wets while leaving the Palmer relatively dry. The sfc/h7 low was a classic ABQ/central NM center. Now 06Z is northerly with the winds, with the center closer to the CO/NM border, resulting in a mere 20+ inches to the south, while the Palmer picks up 2 feet and front range gets pounded with the trowel further north. Im hoping for the ABQ low, but am willing to travel--right now i am split between the Wets and Srn Front range. Will commit to a target at Thu 00Z.
 
Wondering if we can include 28-30 for this forecast thread and also include states that will be effected East of Colorado by this system as it now appears likely that portions of the Northern Plains will also be affected by this system and not just Colorado.
 
Winter Storm Watches for the Denver Metro and most of Colorado and the Nebraska Panhandle.

Denver seems to be in line for 8+ inches with strong winds sustained at 15-30MPH with gusts of 45+MPH, I expect most of Denver and the eastern Colorado area to be in near blizzard conditions between Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon. This isn't good because there is still snow on the ground from the previous storm and this could lead to a ground blizzard. The foothills could see 12+inches. Considerable blowing and drifting is another concern and will cause hazardous travel across the region.

As you move further north into Wyoming and Nebraska the foothills of Wyoming could see a foot with near blizzard conditions. In western Nebraska 10 inches are possible with strong winds as well.

Just more hazardous and stressful travel for the High Plains for the New Year.:(
 
Winter precipitation with ice, snow and quite an assorted mix likely now in areas such as Central and Northeast Nebraska, and Central/Southeast South Dakota with quite a good model consistency escept for a slower system overall. Seeing a lot of similarites with this system and the last one... lots of moisture, slower moving, and again, the biggie that I feel will monkeywrench everything... not a lot of arctic air.

Beating it to death this early, but quite a QPF bullseye over the NE/SD/IA tristate region as well. Somehow though, I see another Winter Storm Bust for the NE/SD area...repeat of the last storm. Just a hunch.
 
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I'm torn with this storm. On one hand, we desperately need the snow due to the severe drought. Considering the 20 inches of snow we got from last week's blizzard was only six inches short of the amount of snow we got the entire winter of 2005-2006, we need all the snow we can get! :)
On the other hand, I think that this storm is going to create a true travel nightmare in this region that might last for weeks.
Typically in Colorado when we get a big snowstorm like this, it warms up right away and the snow is completely melted three to five days after the storm has let up. But this time around, the depth of the snowcover has prevented temperatures from rising very far above the freezing mark in most areas, so very little of the snow has melted off.
Also, we typically only get a big snowstorm of the intensity and duration we had last week every two to five years; the prospect of TWO such blizzards occuring within a week of eachother is absolutely mindboggling.
This is the first time in almost thirty years that we've faced two back to back blizzards like this; the last time this meterological nightmare occurred was in the winter of 1979-1980, also known as "The Winter from Hell", when most of Colorado was pounded with over 150 inches of snow between November and April. Since then, we've been pampered by a two and a half decade period of ununsually mild and snowless winters and now that real winter is finally making a comeback to Colorado, no one remembers how to deal with it, so everyone is freaking out accordingly.:rolleyes:
It is a very complex situation, but here it is:
We still have significant snowcover and drifts leftover from the last storm over the entire eastern half of the state and into southeastern WY and the NE Panhandle; out here on the open prairie, many of our east/west county roads have a single, one lane tunnel plowed through the six to ten foot drifts left behind by the last storm.
When the next storm arrives, the wind driven snow is not only going to blow the reopened roads shut again and create whiteout conditions, but as the snow piles up, it will freeze the pre-exisiting, pre-hardened snowcover and drifts into mounds of literal white concrete. Our ST members from the Midwest and the Northeast probably know all to well that this will make snow removal efforts very difficult, if not impossible for weeks on end.
It is painfully apparent at this time that this storm will render travel, especially along and east of the Urban Corridor, impossible in many locales for an indefinite period of time. I don't want to blow this out of proportion, but given the facts, I believe it is entirely possible that urban areas might be snowed in for several days to a week and rural areas might be snowed in for at least a week if not longer. If it plays out as forecast, this might turn out be the traveling snafu of the decade for this region.
I guess my advice is this:
If you are going to try to attempt to travel through this region in the next week or so, my advice to you is this: DON'T!!! You'll save yourself a lot of unnessecary stress, time, money and possibly even your life!
I have a sneaking suspicion that this storm is going to be as strong and as long in duration as the last one. Given the fact that it took them four days to open the roads after the last storm, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes them twice as long this go around. So me and my family are going to Fort Morgan tomorrow to purchase a week's worth of groceries. Because out here, you never know how long you might be snowed in...

Just my take on this. But you know that big trouble's brewing when Mike Nelson, one of the most respected TV meteorologists in the country, is very concerned by the prospect of this situation.
 
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Still on track for a major storm in CO, allthough timing will now push the worst of it into thu night and fri. As Mark points out, this is going to be an interesting situation for the areas that just got 2-3 feet of snow, thats why i didnt include areas to the N and E which may also get some heavy snow. Boulder got around 3 feet last time; another 3 feet would be incredible for this area. Hopefully the travel wont be too bad, cause i plan on being in the thick of it come friday-S
 
I am going to hear towards Boulder. Hopefully this winter storm pans out. Denver seems to be a bit on the fence as far as going ahead with a warning. The new NAM shows 15"+ across portions of Denver and Boulder. Tough choice on where exactly to go. I believe I will set up shop in Boulder for tonight and tomorrow and then check the models in the morning. Hopefully we get some good photographs. The Evergreen area was suggested by another poster. Tried to make some calls there...not a lot of hotels though. A few lodges and the like.

Winds look fairly impressive in both the NAM and the GFS. Defin a good bet that winds will be gusting over 40 mph across the region mentioned. Blowing and drifting snow should be impressive (esp on top of the previous snowfall).
 
Both the 12z NAM and GFS develop a surface low right about smack dab over Albuquerque, with dead easterly/south easterly surface winds in southeast CO and northeasterly north of the Palmer. The upper low also sits practically in the same spot for 30 hours. It's slowed dramatically and is a bit further south. UH OH! It doesn't look to jog much northeasterly like the last storm did; looks to kind of ride the Kansas/Oklahoma border. Based on the Pueblo AFD (by the way, I like reading your forecasts Stan!), this one is lookin mean. Sustained 35 knot winds :eek:
 
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Unreal! To see storms of this strength are rare; two within a week and change, unreal!

I'm enjoying the sun and surf on the beaches of South Texas (Padre Island), but will be returning briefly to Denver in the form of a layover tomorrow afternoon before heading out to Ohio to see friends with a planned return of early morning on Sunday the 31st.

Glancing at the models and discussing via email with local mets, I'm thinking another biggie is certainly in store. While I would love to live out this historical one-two punch, I'll be content with being stranded with friends in the Buckeye State as opposed to spending another three days snowed in my apartment.

My tentative forecast would be between 1 and 2 feet for most places in the Metro area with a few locations in the city (Ken Caryl, western Lakewood, Golden) seeing upwards of three feet. The NGM has the storm very slow with the snow not starting til Friday morning while everyone else has 6 to 12 inches already by that time. The storm will be another slow mover, which will allow for large accumulations before the system finally pushes east. Some spots in Denver still have over a foot of snow from last week, so people will be sticking yard sticks to the grass and probably will see them buried.

Winds will be an issue again as well as this storm seems to be shaping up much like last week's. I would expect widespread closures east of I-25 once again. Not to mention blowing snow early from the storm due to the leftover accumulations from last week.

What an incredible chain of events for the Denver area in terms of back-to-back storms. Part of me wants to witness this historical event; the other part of me will be happy to be elsewhere. Either way, I do not want to spend three days at DIA. We land from Texas at noon and fly out to Dayton at 2:45pm. I'm thinking we'll make it. Coming back, though (on standby) could be interesting.
 
http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/00/images/gfs_p60_096m.gif


Then note the 850 0c line at the beginning of that precip.
http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/00/images/gfs_850_036m.gif

Sfc 0c is about between the 850 -3c and 0c line. Those don't move west of there really and actually move a bit east through that forecasted precip period.

I'm no winter weather forecaster, but that doesn't look good for folks in that area. What is the likely precip type between the -3c and 0c 850 line for this one? I guess maybe one would need the forecast sounding to figure that out. It seems rather similar to the last one and some areas in that same location got some very heavy ice. I'd guess if that panned out it'd be worse. Watch out for those falling tree branches Dean!

http://204.2.104.196/gfs/WINTER_GFS0P5_SFC_ACCUM-SNOW_96HR.gif

I know I've seen the scale set higher for the higher amounts. I wonder why it won't. Maybe it is just the gfs that won't. I can't see that large area of 18-20 not having areas indicating higher amounts. Hmm.
 
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This is actually a bit colder of a system than the last one... in terms of the temps in the 800 to 700mb layer. Thus, freezing rain should not be a major problem...also because there is no pre-existing source of remnant arctic air in place. Areas of the High Plains above 4000 feet, the 850mb can be deceptive. Model 850mb temps may be +1 or +2 and still be snowing because 850mb is so close to the surface. Once you get into the boundary layer, model temperatures suffer... I don't trust model 2 meter temps as far as I can throw them (except the UKMET for some reason, which verifies far better than the NAM and GFS), but we can't get UKMET surface temperatures on the web. Anyway, there may be a narrow corridor of sleet mixed in... but I think it will be largely a rain vs. snow event this time. And where will Dodge City be? Just take a wild guess... Ugh.

Edit.. I'm blogging this event for those interested.
 
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Made it to Boulder. 1 a.m. Hard decision on where to park myself. Boulder seems to be in a good position for heavy snowfall. Latest information is that we could get over 15 inches here in the city. Thought about going southwest of Denver...towards Evergreen. Might be best and wait until morning to decide what to do next. Frontier Airlines has satellite television. TWC was on during the flight and they were live from Denver. Pretty nice.

High Res NAM hit this region hard. 20+ inch bullseye
http://grib2.wxcaster.com/wxcaster4/CONUS1_ETA212_SFC_ACCUM-SNOWFALL_84HR.gif
 
This morning's AFD out of the Boulder NWS is painting a nasty picture for metro Denver and the eastern plains. Winter Storm Warning for metro Denver metro Thur night into Fri morning w/8-18 inches, then the intensity backs off during the day Friday. Watch still in effect from Fri AM into Sat night and talk of blizzard conditions possible have been re-introduced into the forecast as things crank up again with the potential for an additional 10-20 by Sun AM. Ugh!
My target area is my house 15 miles east of Beau's present location.
Beau - I hope your rental is a 4wd with low range! If you need any suggestions for areas for blizzard type footage or big snow accumulations feel free to e-mail or PM me.
 
Wow! This storm is very strong. The forecast calls for heavy snow starting today into tonight with snowfall totals of 8-18 inches in the Denver metro. There should be a break in the heavy snow on Friday, then on Friday night become heavy again through early Sunday morning which should drop another 10-20 inches of snow!
 
Based on the Pueblo AFD (by the way, I like reading your forecasts Stan!), this one is lookin mean. Sustained 35 knot winds :eek:

Thanks, Andrew--just dont quote me after i bust ;)
Well, looks like once again im foiled from chasing by work--if you wan't to never chase again just become a meteorologist :rolleyes:
The effect of this monster will go through the weekend and i cant risk being stuck up north or east when im back on shift. So...good luck to those out there: in some respects this will be like a classic severe wx chase, since the uncertainty even this close to the event is still huge. I havent had a chance to really analyze the latest data, but just the differences in the GFS and NAM are enough to give you heartburn. Someone is gonna get pounded by this system, just hard to say who and when. The northern system is really wrecking havoc with the model take on how this will pan out. Hopefully ill make it out tomorrow locally for some photos--probably will head up Andrew's way.
 
Ha!! I don't know what the heck I'm doing with this forecasting stuff, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

12z NAM pretty much dumps all the precip north of Colorado Springs; GFS does as well but gives a little window of good precip in the "corner" if you will where the Palmer Divide butts up against the front range, over the Monument area. Surface winds now really never end up southeasterly in southern Colorado; instead they are more northeasterly again, which makes it more of a Denver/northeast plains monster. Seems to also favor orographicly induced snow along the northern Palmer divide and northern El Paso county. I dunno, I guess the surface lows in New Mexico are too far north or too far south or something for the Springs to take most of the hit.

If I didn't have to work today and tomorrow Stan, I'd see if you wanted to meet up for some good times 4 wheeling through the snow on Rampart Range road.........but I have to work :(
 
http://grib2.wxcaster.com/wxcaster4/CONUS1_ETA212_SFC_ACCUM-SNOWFALL_84HR.gif


http://204.2.104.196/gfs/WINTER_GFS0P5_SFC_ACCUM-SNOW_84HR.gif


Boy those are a couple annoying differences. Nam says sw SD, nw NE while gfs thinks lesser amounts through the middle of NE....while largely hosing ne CO. I guess if I had to pick a spot that gets the most it'd be that dot on the gfs plot as that would sit fairly well with the nam if you moved the nam south a smidge. It sucks as the system might dig a little more than it was showing, but the dry punch may move a bit further north than it was progged too.

http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/model/displayMod.php?var=eta_850_wnd&hours=hr36hr48hr60hr24hr72hr84


Jeez, that is quite the fetch off the gulf/tropics! The track of the 850 low looks pretty similar between both models. The gfs just doesn't give much push to the dry punch, while the nam sends it north. The nam also wants to fill it in better than the gfs later on in the future. The nam goes nuts with precip overnight Saturday while the gfs wants to start to shut it down by then. Hmmmm. I guess I'd probably buy the Nam's movement of the drypunch more, but maybe not buy it's precip difference over the gfs by Sat night/Sun morning.
 
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