Currently, one of the largest snowstorms in Denver history is bearing down on us! Roofs will collapse, flights will be cancelled, metro Denver will grind to a halt, shelves will be barren without a single loaf of bread or gallon of milk, life as we know it will cease to exist! Or… maybe not.
There has been plenty of discrepancy between news and weather outlets regarding our latest chance for significant snowfall that will move into the area on Monday and give us some of that upslope precipitation that is a staple of Colorado. For days we’ve seen a guessing game from every authority on weather that has included every forecasted snowfall depth imaginable. Forecasts have ranged anywhere from 2″ to 36″ and seem to have no rhyme or reason to them other than the fact that everyone knows it will snow. All the shouting, over-hyping, and seemingly random forecasts come down to one criteria that I mentioned in my previous forecast, a blocking pattern. The million dollar question right now is; will the storm slow down and stay overhead long enough to really enhance our snowfall accumulations?
What Are The Models Saying?
Surprisingly, the weather models have held true to the position of this system with the exception of some very minor fluctuations. The low pressure center is continually located over the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and there hasn’t been much uncertainty with it like there was in the November 17th storm when thousands of Denver-ites woke up to substantially less snow than they wanted. So, we’re off to a good start! We know that the low will create upslope winds for Denver and bring us deep moisture from the Gulf of Mexico! That’s the easy part.
Figuring out how long the low will hang out there is the hard part and for answers we have to look to the Hudson Bay. There’s another low pressure system that like to hang out around the Hudson and depending on its intensity and size, it can block other weather patterns to the west of it. The location and relationship of the two lows can be seen in the image below. The models have been having a harder time with resolving the Hudson Bay low and so we’re having a hard time figuring out just how long snow will hang out with us here in Denver. Realistically, for big snow we want a big block and, hence, a big and slow Hudson Low so that our system can stay in place and feed us that moisture. According to the last couple model runs, it does look like things have slowed down a bit and that’s why your local snow forecasts appear to be creeping up in amount.
The Final Word
It looks like we are primed for a big snow event, but the overall accumulations have yet to be determined because they do fluctuate from run to run. I’m actually going to increase my previous forecast a bit and say that we’re looking at 6-12″ for most areas and possibly up to 18″ in some high elevation spots. Snow from this system should start mid-afternoon on Sunday increase in intensity during the night, then heavy snow will fall over night and into Monday morning before tapering off Tuesday afternoon. As you know, our ability to predict the weather greatly increases as we approach the start of the storm and that means that my forecast will likely change tomorrow and a little on Monday morning. If things don’t shift too dramatically, I will probably up my forecast once again, but that is far from a certainty. As I said in my previous post, measured excitement. If your excitement level was at a 5 before, I give you permission to move up to a 7, but no higher than a 7! If we get that blocking pattern and we’re sure about it by Monday morning… I’ll give you permission to go to 11, but not before then!
You can get updates on the storm system with live monitoring as well as daily forecasts with the “My Weather Concierge” app! Forecasts every day from a real person (myself) as well as a “Request Custom Forecast” feature that allows you to get a custom forecast for your event, trip, or personal occasion from an actual Atmospheric Scientist/Meteorologist!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING! As always, feel free to comment or ask any questions below. I’d love to hear what you thought!