Nov 152012
 

Sorry for missing the first real accumulation of snow for the year. But, I was basking in tropical sunlight last week. Ahhhh.

Early next week we could receive another round of snow, depending on which forecast model is correct. The NoGAPs model forecast precipitation for Northern Arizona on Monday morning. The Navy’s model project a quarter to a half-inch of precipitation for the Flagstaff Area.

US Navy NoGAPs precipitation model for Monday, November 19, 2012.

US Navy NoGAPs precipitation model for Monday, November 19, 2012. (Update: Sorry, I don’t know where this image went. Now it is gone forever.)

However, this doesn’t match the outlook from the GFS Model at NOAA. This model projects the moisture from the same storm misses Northern Arizona.

GFS Precipitation model for Monday morning, November 19, 2012

GFS Precipitation model for Monday morning, November 19, 2012

Which model is better tuned for this year? Of the forecast websites I routinely use, none are forecasting rain or snow on Monday. We’ll have to wait and see.

 Posted by at 7:04 am
Apr 042012
 

Just when I condemn us to a dry spring, the GFS and NoGAPs Models align around a storm for next week. It’s unusual for both models to align at long time points. In the current case, both are predicting a significant storm around next Wednesday or Thursday. NoGAPs predicts the storm’s arrival 6-12 hours earlier than GFS. We will see.

We have wind on tap for the next few days

NoGAPs precipitation forecast for Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2012

NoGAPs precipitation forecast for Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2012

 Posted by at 6:37 am
Oct 022011
 

Both GFS and NoGAPS models are predicting a wet, continuously cooler week  ahead. AccuWeather has predicted temperatures in the low 30s and upper 20s for Thursday and Friday. The pattern from the last few days for Arizona has been more of a monsoonal flow. With the jet stream dropping down, Pacific storms moving from the west to the east will be responsible for the next few precipitation events.

US Navy NoGAPS model precipitation outlook for 6 hours, Thursday morning, October 6, 2011

US Navy NoGAPS model precipitation outlook for 6 hours, Thursday morning, October 6, 2011

NoGAPS and GFS models are in agreement with a wet start to the week. Then, they indicate a bit of a break on Wednesday before the big cold push on Thursday and Friday.

US Navy NoGAPS temperature outlook, 5am Friday, October 7, 2011

US Navy NoGAPS temperature outlook, 5am Friday, October 7, 2011

I haven’t done a big winter outlook this year. I think we could see a similar year to last year. We have a weak La Nina, a more active, but still anemic, Sun, and a generally cold Pacific. For the winter overall, it will probably be warmer than average, drier than average, with scatter times of heavy snow and very cold temperatures.

 Posted by at 7:37 am
Sep 302011
 

Tropical Storm Hilary isn’t going to make it to Arizona. But, we will get a fresh shot of monsoonal flow out of the south. I don’t think we will see large amounts over the Northland. We could see strong thunderstorms and all their elements; wind, hail, etc.

Next up is cooler temperatures and a break from the recent, highly nice, unseasonably warm temperatures. The look out for the next two weeks has turned to colder forecasts. The National Weather Service has posted a nice slide today discussing the threat of frost and the average date of frost for multiple locations in Northern Arizona. We are clearly in the zone. Here is my post on Fall Freeze Probabilities.

Also, somewhere over the horizon another storm system will brush Arizona. But, this doesn’t look like the long-term trend. Unfortunately,a mostly dry, winter weather pattern could be taking a set.

6-10 day temperature outlook - Climate Prediction Center

6-10 day temperature outlook - Climate Prediction Center

 Posted by at 8:06 am
Sep 282011
 

The out look for this weekend keeps shifting around. I feel pretty confident that Hurricane Hilary will not make it to Arizona as an organized storm. But, the storm track is dipping farther to the south, and a system may move across Northern Arizona and draw the moisture from Hilary to the north. But, the models keep shifting.

I think the best bet is to plan on temperatures to start to drop as we get closer to the weekend. Also, at some point over the weekend or early next week, rain showers and thunderstorms will show up. It’s very hard to say how much rain. I am starting to doubt that we will see significant precipitation totals. Over the horizon, it looks like there is at least one potential repeat scenario.

Interestingly, my Shark Oil Barometer is showing a hint of cloudiness today. The photo below will update through the day.

Shark Oil Barometer

Shark Oil Barometer

 

 Posted by at 6:40 am
Sep 262011
 

The storm on September 14, 2011, two days after our significant hail event in Flagstaff, brought a tornado to the Peaks. Here is an image from the National Weather Service.

Arizona Snowbowl Tornado - National Weather Service

Arizona Snowbowl Tornado - National Weather Service

The NWS in Flagstaff has done a great job in recent history with their documentation of major events like this. Very nice work!

This week we should see awesome weather! Simply beautiful. Sunny, warm days and cool comfortable nights are in store. But, a significant change is still lurking for the weekend. Hurricane Hilary is current off the coast of Mexico. The National Weather Service and AccuWeather are both forecasting Hilary to run up the Baja Coast and bring cooler temperatures and elevated chances for rain this weekend for most of the state. However, I am still not sure it will happen. this morning only the GFS model shows this track. Other models show Hilary drifting about and fading into obscurity.

Summary of computer models from Weather Underground.com

Summary of computer models from Weather Underground.com

So, this weekend could be cold and wet, or it could be like the rest of the week. One particular point, the GFS model has shown the same behavior for the last week or so. Another particular point is that the NoGAPS model has shown a similar drifting track since Hilary first came into it’s time window. Keep an eye out. I’m going to close the windows on my roof this week.

 Posted by at 6:26 am
Aug 302011
 

The last few weeks have been dry. But, the Climate Prediction Center has a roar in their outlooks. This seems possible with a potential moisture surge from a tropical system coming across Northern Mexico and Texas. Also, another chance for a big East Coast storm, Katia, is on tap for the not to distant future.

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

 Posted by at 7:41 am
Aug 152011
 

I recorded a whopping 1.71 inches of rain by my electronic and manual rain gauges yesterday. I think this is the first time they have matched.

We’ll see as more people post their rainfall from yesterday, but it looks like it was a wet one for most of us. The National Weather Service reported 1.08 inches, just 2 hundredths of an inch short of the 1.1o inch record. According to them, that puts us a little over half an inch above average. Which means that in a single day, we went from about half an inch below average, to half an inch above average.

This morning the models are looking wet after Wednesday. The forecasts and models for the next couple days are dryer than yesterday, but things should start back up late in the week.

 Posted by at 6:56 am
Dec 312010
 

The storm track for the last few weeks has been more to the south than I would have expected. Temperatures this morning are far below normal and tonight the temperature for the Pinecone Drop will be significantly below zero. Temperatures across the Southeastern US, much of the Caribbean and most of Europe have been chilly, too. This can be attributed to the the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation(AO) that has been in place since the middle of November.

Arctic Oscillation - Negative phase on right. Positive Phase on left. Negative phase drives the polar jet stream and storm track farther to the south.

Arctic Oscillation - Negative phase on right. Positive Phase on left. Negative phase drives the polar jet stream and storm track farther to the south.

The key characteristics of the negative phase are high pressure at high latitudes and lower pressure to the south near 45 degrees. This brings warmer than normal conditions to some places like Greenland, and colder temperatures like we have seen in the Eastern US. It is also responsible for the shift of the Western US storm track to the south, into Arizona. The question is: “Will it last?”

As I pointed out in the fall, I thought we would be moving toward a dry and potentially warm winter. December and November both started that way and shifted along the way. Here is the GFS model outlook for the AO.

Arctic Oscillation Outlook - Climate Prediction Center

Arctic Oscillation Outlook - Climate Prediction Center

The Climate Prediction Center has been fairly consistent in their outlook for the Southwest to be warm and dry this winter, even in their 6-14 day outlooks. But, with this outlook for a mostly negative AO, they seem to be changing their tune. Here are their 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks.

Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day Precipitation Outlook

Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day Precipitation Outlook

Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day Temperature Outlook

Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day Temperature Outlook

Climate Prediction Center 8-14 day Precipitation Outlook

Climate Prediction Center 8-14 day Precipitation Outlook

Climate Prediction Center 8-14 day Temperature Outlook

Climate Prediction Center 8-14 day Temperature Outlook

In this outlook from yesterday afternoon, they are seeing a persistent storm pattern similar to the last couple weeks. What’s odd is that this morning just about every model has significantly altered the outlook to little chance of significant snow for the next couple weeks. This is a big shift. Joe Bastardi, at AccuWeather, seems to believe that this pattern is going to come to an end and we will see a return to conditions like we had in Early December.

Yesterday, I thought we were looking at a persistent storm pattern. Today, I am not so sure. But, I think the next few model runs will tell the tale. With the cooling in the North Atlantic. We could see more of an average overall winter for Flagstaff.

 Posted by at 8:52 am
Dec 162010
 

The forecasts and models continue to be all over the place this morning. It looks like we will get fairly persistent precipitation all day, but how much will be snow and how much will be rain is up in the air. The weather service shows minimal accumulations in their text forecasts for many areas. But, they have this graphic posted on their site:

Winter Weather Advisory

Winter Weather Advisory

And most models are still showing a reasonable shot at another quarter to 3/4’s of an inches of water precipitation(some even more). But, the snow level outlook is right around 6600-6700 feet. So that will we will probably bounce back and forth between rain and snow until tonight.

Snow Level - NWS - 11am MST

Snow Level - NWS - 11am MST

Looking further out, there is an on-going chance of rain and snow through the holidays. It will all depends on the the direction of the storm pump. This current storm seems to have started with the pump directed even to the south of us.

 Posted by at 6:58 am
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