Well, a small chance of scatter showers looks pretty good now. But, the reality is that we won’t see much precipitation. For most of the Easter Weekend, we will have clouds and cooler temperatures and occasionally light rain. It’s very dry out there.
I haven’t written much lately. Mostly because our weather continues as mostly unremarkable and harmless. As warm and dry as it has been, we haven’t really set any significant records. This morning, our temperatures are in the mid-40s, roughly 20 degrees above normal. The next few days should have low winds, and plenty of sunshine. Next weekend, we have some showers.
Looking way out, there may be a chance that next winter will be a strong El Nino winter. Don’t hold your breath.
The computer models don’t agree and are not even consistent between runs. It looks like an April Fool’s Day joke. Back in 1999, we had a similar experience. Beautiful, above average temperatures and sunshine were in the forecast for April 1. On the afternoon of March 31, it started to snow. I remember because my wife and I were buying a used Ford Bronco that afternoon. It snowed for the next 4 days. You can review that week at Wunderground. Temperatures dropped into the 20s and stayed there. Stay tuned.
It’s been windy lately, which is typical for spring time. Yesterday, it was very windy. I usually don’t look at wind that much. But yesterday was superlative. From the National Weather Service:
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ 800 PM MST SUN MAR 30 2014 ...STRONG WINDS ACROSS NORTHERN ARIZONA EARLIER TODAY... A STORM SYSTEM CAUSED STRONG AND GUSTY WINDS ACROSS NORTHERN ARIZONA TODAY. HERE ARE SOME OF THE PEAK WIND GUSTS REPORTED: LOCATION PEAK WIND GUST (MPH) KYKOTSMOVI 67 FLAGSTAFF 63 GRAND CANYON 60 PETRIFIED FOREST 59 WINDOW ROCK 59 NAVAJO NM 56 PARIA POINT 54 WINSLOW 54 SAINT JOHNS 53 WILLIAMS 53 SHOW LOW 52 PAGE 48 HEBER 48 PRESCOTT 47 COTTONWOOD 47 PAULDEN 46 SEDONA 44 $$ KD
For the last week or so, the computer models have generated a storm forming to the east of Flagstaff tomorrow. This morning, everything seems to have changed. We are now looking at a nice round of rain and snow for tomorrow. Even though the storm appears pretty strong in the models, the National Weather Service is only projecting a 40-50% chance of precipitation. Here is the North American Mesoscale model of precipitation for the next couple days.
Last weeks storm provided some needed relief to many parts of Arizona. We didn’t get as much as expected. There is a chance for another bit of rain on Friday or Saturday. It isn’t steady in the computer models. But, the Climate Prediction Center posted a new one-month outlook.
Unfortunately, the Climate Prediction Center based this chart on the last storm being a bigger hit. So, we shouldn’t expect much more. From the discussion notes:
THE AREA OF FAVORED BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION HAS BEEN REMOVED AND THE FAVORED
ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AREA IS SHIFTED CONSIDERABLY SOUTH ACROSS THE
SOUTHWEST. THIS CHANGE REFLECTS IMPACTS VERY EARLY IN MARCH RATHER THAN ANY
CONFIDENCE IN A LONGER TERM PATTERN CHANGE OF WHAT HAS BEEN SO FAR A DRY WINTER
IN THESE AREAS.
The radar summary below from Intellicast tells the story. As band of rain and thunderstorms moved across the state, they were too far south. I don’t know about how you feel, but I don’t like being stuck in the middle between storm paths. There isn’t much more in the next week or so. Sorry.
As expected, temperatures around Flagstaff are warm this morning; in the upper 30s and low 40s. The outlook for snow is pretty weak because of the high temperatures. However, Arizona Snowbowl could receive 2-3 feet of new snow with this storm. The National Weather Service hasn’t posted any alerts, yet. If temperatures drop, our outlook could change.
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ 418 AM MST FRI FEB 28 2014 AZZ004>018-037>040-010900- KAIBAB PLATEAU-MARBLE AND GLEN CANYONS-GRAND CANYON COUNTRY- COCONINO PLATEAU-YAVAPAI COUNTY MOUNTAINS- NORTHEAST PLATEAUS AND MESAS HWY 264 NORTHWARD-CHINLE VALLEY- CHUSKA MOUNTAINS AND DEFIANCE PLATEAU- LITTLE COLORADO RIVER VALLEY IN COCONINO COUNTY- LITTLE COLORADO RIVER VALLEY IN NAVAJO COUNTY- LITTLE COLORADO RIVER VALLEY IN APACHE COUNTY- WESTERN MOGOLLON RIM-EASTERN MOGOLLON RIM-WHITE MOUNTAINS- NORTHERN GILA COUNTY-YAVAPAI COUNTY VALLEYS AND BASINS- OAK CREEK AND SYCAMORE CANYONS-BLACK MESA AREA- NORTHEAST PLATEAUS AND MESAS SOUTH OF HWY 264- 418 AM MST FRI FEB 28 2014 THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR APACHE...COCONINO... NORTHERN GILA...NAVAJO...AND YAVAPAI COUNTIES IN NORTHERN ARIZONA. .DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT SHOWERS WILL SPREAD INTO COCONINO AND YAVAPAI COUNTIES BY THIS AFTERNOON AS A STORM SYSTEM APPROACHES. STEADY PRECIPITATION WILL THEN DEVELOP OVERNIGHT...WITH THE HEAVIEST AMOUNTS FROM THE MOGOLLON RIM SOUTHWARD INTO YAVAPAI AND GILA COUNTIES. A FEW THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE OVERNIGHT. SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 15 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH WILL ALSO CONTINUE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT. SNOW LEVELS REMAIN ABOVE 8000 TO 9000 FEET. .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY SATURDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT...MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY PRECIPITATION WILL CONTINUE WITH RAIN AND HIGH ELEVATION SNOW. A FEW THUNDERSTORMS ARE ALSO EXPECTED SATURDAY. STORM TOTAL PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ALONG AND SOUTH OF THE MOGOLLON RIM...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. WHILE WIDESPREAD FLOODING IS NOT EXPECTED...LOCALIZED MINOR FLOODING OF POORLY DRAINED AREAS IS POSSIBLE...AS WELL AS RISES ON CREEKS AND WASHES. SNOW LEVELS ARE FORECAST TO REMAIN ABOVE 8000 FEET EARLY SATURDAY MORNING...THEN FALL TO 6500 TO 7500 FEET BY SATURDAY AFTERNOON. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS FROM SATURDAY TO SUNDAY MORNING BETWEEN 6000 TO 8000 FOOT ELEVATION WILL RANGE FROM 2 TO 6 INCHES...WITH MUCH HEAVIER SNOW AMOUNTS EXPECTED OVER THE HIGHEST MOUNTAINS PEAKS. DETAILS REGARDING SNOW LEVELS AND SNOW AMOUNTS ARE STILL SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN...PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR THE LATEST UPDATES AT WWW.WEATHER.GOV/FLAGSTAFF
As our storm approaches, the computer models are predicting more precipitation. The 5-day precipitation outlook from the Weather Prediction Center shows a peak of 4.4 inches. This would completely reverse our deficit since September 1, 2013.
But, forecast temperatures remain above average. The daily minimum temperature anomaly for the next 5 days is +9 degrees F. Our typical average low this time of year is 21 degrees. That gives us an average temperature over the next 5 days of 30 or more. The NWS forecasts high temperatures in the low 40s and lows in the mid-20s. Snow or rain? Some of each? A lot of both.
I’m also thinking of the pictures in the Flagstaff Athletic Club’s East Facility. I think it was March of 1991. Flagstaff received a bunch of snow, then a bunch of rain which flooded the area near the bubble. Could we be looking at a similar scenario?
Thursday will usher in a wetter pattern. With the “polar vortex” moving into the Midwest and Eastern United States, our temperatures are going to stay warm until the weekend. We probably won’t see significant precipitation until Friday night. While the precipitation will continue until Monday, the intensity will drop during the day on Sunday. Since temperatures will be warm, I don’t know how much of the precipitation will fall as snow.
There will be a significant amount of moisture with this system. Here is the 5-day precipitation outlook from the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center. Notice the 2.5 inch peak precipitation amount. This won’t make up our 4 inch precipitation deficit to average since September, but it could nearly cut it in half. On another note, this storm will proceed to the east. It could be come a major spring storm.
As we closer to the start of March, the storm track shifts to the south. A couple of storms had faded in and out of the models. Currently, the GFS and NoGAPs models for Saturday, March 1, align and show moderate storm moving quickly across Arizona.
Below is an image for the GFS model run by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It shows up to half an inch of water falling around the Flagstaff area next Saturday.
We still have a week, so the outlook could change.