Mar 032015
 

Clearing and warming are on the horizon for Northern Arizona. The next two mornings will be in the teens, but we will be back to the 50s for highs by the weekend. A few showers may linger around the area today. Currently, there are no storms in the forecasts for the next week.

The storm totals are here. This was a whopper storm for the region. The Flagstaff Airport received over 4 inches of water. Yesterday was a record at 1.71 inches.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT 
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
 700 PM MST MON MAR 2 2015
 
 ...SNOW AND RAIN REPORTS ACROSS CENTRAL AND NORTHERN AZ...
 
 A MULTI-DAY EVENT BROUGHT SIGNIFICANT RAIN AND SNOW 
 ACCUMULATIONS ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN ARIZONA.
 THE SNOWFALL TOTALS BELOW ARE FROM MONDAY ONLY. THE 
 LIQUID EQUIVALENT ACCUMULATIONS ARE FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION
 OF THE EVENT...LASTING FROM FRIDAY THROUGH MONDAY EVENING.
 
 
 ***************STORM TOTAL LIQUID EQUIVALENT****************
 
 LOCATION          STORM TOTAL     TIME/DATE   COMMENTS                   
                      RAINFALL           OF 
                      /INCHES/   MEASUREMENT
 
 ARIZONA
 
 ...APACHE COUNTY...
    WINDOW ROCK           0.82   622 PM  3/02                           
 
 ...COCONINO COUNTY...
    FLAGSTAFF AIRPORT     4.09   600 PM  3/02                           
    KACHINA VILLAGE       3.49   645 PM  3/02                           
    HAPPY JACK            3.14   630 PM  3/02                           
    BLUE RIDGE            2.74   630 PM  3/02                           
    MORMON LAKE           2.32   625 PM  3/02                           
    GUNSIGHT (RAWS)       1.89   609 PM  3/02                           
    FRAZIERS WELL         1.66   611 PM  3/02                           
    TUSAYAN               1.53   610 PM  3/02                           
    GRAND CANYON AIRPORT  1.45   600 PM  3/02                           
    PARIA POINT (RAWS)    1.41   607 PM  3/02     
    PAGE AIRPORT          1.22   608 PM  3/02                           
    WUPATKI RAWS          1.11   625 PM  3/02
 Posted by at 7:03 am
Mar 022015
 

We received almost 2 inches of water yesterday. I’m surprised this wasn’t a record. It would have been a record on the day before or after. I think another inch could arrive today. I don’t think we will add much to the snowfall totals in Flagstaff. But if the temperatures are low enough, we could.

The winter storm warning is in effect. Radar shows a slow northward churning cold from to the west. It should arrive later this morning with plenty of water.

...THE FLAGSTAFF AZ AIRPORT CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR MARCH 1 2015...

CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1898 TO 2015


WEATHER ITEM   OBSERVED TIME   RECORD YEAR NORMAL DEPARTURE LAST
                VALUE   (LST)  VALUE       VALUE  FROM      YEAR
                                                  NORMAL
..................................................................
TEMPERATURE (F)
 YESTERDAY
  MAXIMUM         40   1137 PM  67    2009  47     -7       43
  MINIMUM         32   1041 AM -10    1997  21     11       32
  AVERAGE         36                        34      2

PRECIPITATION (IN)
  YESTERDAY        1.98          2.81 1970   0.08   1.90     1.09
  MONTH TO DATE    1.98                      0.08   1.90     1.09
  SINCE SEP 1     14.12                     11.96   2.16     8.80
  SINCE JAN 1      6.29                      4.29   2.00     1.69

SNOWFALL (IN)
  YESTERDAY        8.0          26.0  1970   0.7             0.7
  MONTH TO DATE    8.0                       0.7             0.7
  SINCE JUL 1     46.9                      73.9            34.2
  SNOW DEPTH       4
 Posted by at 6:46 am
Feb 262015
 

Snow flurries are starting to fall this afternoon. They are a harbinger of a huge amount of water on the way. The current outlook is for rain tomorrow (Friday). Then snow through at least next Wednesday. Make your preparations now! Travel may be very difficult for the next week in the Northland. The outlook below from Wunderground has 19-30 inches of snow over the next week.

10-day weather outlook graphic from wunderground.com

10-day weather outlook graphic for Flagstaff, AZ from wunderground.com

The 3.5 and 7-day outlooks from the NAM and GFS models, respectively, match the wunderground outlook. The 3.5-day outlook has us in the 2 inch and above range. The 7-day outlook has us in the 3+ inch of water range. Stand by for warnings to be posted.

3.5 day total precipitation outlook from NOAA's NAM model.

3.5-day total precipitation outlook from NOAA’s NAM model.

Total 7-day precipitation outlook from NOAA's GFS Model

Total 7-day precipitation outlook from NOAA’s GFS Model.

 Posted by at 4:11 pm
Feb 232015
 

I kept thinking this storm, and the one in the forecast for later in the week, would be have a similar story to the other ones this year. Their either wouldn’t materialize, or pass us by to the north. Even yesterday as things were getting started, a bypass to the north seemed reasonable. I thought we would have consistent weather patterns, at least until March. As Emerson said:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

So, it seems I missed this snow event.  It’s 33 degrees outside now. The dew point has bobbed around 32. The sun will come up soon and temperatures should drift slowly but surely above freezing. The National Weather Service is calling for up to 11 inches of snow in Flagstaff. There could very well be 11 inches by tomorrow morning. But, the ground is fairly warm, and the air temperatures are two. This will be a very wet, heavy snow.

I’m doubtful that we will see 11 inches in most places.

The other end of the week has a storm for us too. The storm door may finally open for us.

 Posted by at 6:36 am
Dec 312014
 

If you look back to my post from yesterday, it did not include waking up to over an inch of snow. So, the storm got a bit of an earlier start. The middle of the day will probably bring us heavy snow. It’s too early to tell how long it will last.

The earlier start should make it easier to hit the deeper snowfall forecasts. The storm formed over the San Diego and Los Angeles area yesterday night. I think this allowed it to draw moisture up from the south sooner than I expected, and sooner than many of the computer model runs allowed. Even yesterday afternoon, the computer models showed the storm forming more to the east, with less precipitation for Flagstaff

The National Weather Service has increased their snowfall forecast(below) in their Winter Storm Warning to 9-15 inches. Wunderground has increased their forecast to 8-12 inches. AccuWeather is forecasting about 9-10 inches. We are in for a big storm. This morning’s radar shows a large band of moisture moving our way.

* SNOWFALL FORECAST FROM 4 AM MST TODAY UNTIL 5 PM MST
  THURSDAY...

     CAMP VERDE  1 TO 2  INCHES    CHINO VALLEY  4 TO 8  INCHES
       CONGRESS  1 TO 2  INCHES      COTTONWOOD  1 TO 3  INCHES
         DILKON  4 TO 6  INCHES      DONEY PARK  8 TO 12 INCHES
      FLAGSTAFF  9 TO 15 INCHES    FOREST LAKES 13 TO 19 INCHES
HEBER-OVERGAARD  6 TO 10 INCHES        HOLBROOK  2 TO 4  INCHES
     KYKOTSMOVI  4 TO 8  INCHES         PAULDEN  4 TO 8  INCHES
         PAYSON  5 TO 9  INCHES PINE-STRAWBERRY  8 TO 12 INCHES
PRESCOTT VALLEY  4 TO 8  INCHES        PRESCOTT  6 TO 10 INCHES
         SEDONA  4 TO 6  INCHES        SELIGMAN  8 TO 12 INCHES
         SHONTO 10 TO 16 INCHES SNOWFLAKE-TAYLR  2 TO 4  INCHES
      TUBA CITY  4 TO 7  INCHES        WILLIAMS 10 TO 16 INCHES
        WINSLOW  1 TO 3  INCHES
 Posted by at 6:09 am
Dec 302014
 

There is a winter storm warning posted for Flagstaff. It is below. But, what if it didn’t come together as promised. Is that even possible? The National Weather Service has the following forecast for downtown Flagstaff:

nwsforecastIf you add up the snowfall amounts from Wednesday to Thursday, the totals come to 7-14 inches. This is in the 1 inch of water range. I think this could happen and that it is important for the National Weather Service to project it. They are responsible for helping us prepare for bad weather. Hats off to them for being very active in the social media about this storm.

The problem is that this storm is heavily dependent on timing. The low pressure system needs to develop over Arizona at the same time that a burst of moisture makes its way up to Arizona from the tropics. After watching the computer models over the last few days, I am very tempted to side with AccuWeather‘s slightly lower forecast of 5-12 inches or even Wunderground‘s lower forecast of 5-8 inches. Most of the models are heading in the 3/4’s of an inch of water range which fits the lower predictions. Still, I am concerned that everything will come together, but over Eastern Arizona, not Central Arizona.

I recommend taking this storm seriously. It could be our biggest one for the season.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
523 AM MST TUE DEC 30 2014

AZZ004>009-015-016-018-037-038-302230-
/O.NEW.KFGZ.WS.W.0001.141231T1200Z-150102T0000Z/
KAIBAB PLATEAU-MARBLE AND GLEN CANYONS-GRAND CANYON COUNTRY-
COCONINO PLATEAU-YAVAPAI COUNTY MOUNTAINS-
NORTHEAST PLATEAUS AND MESAS HWY 264 NORTHWARD-
WESTERN MOGOLLON RIM-EASTERN MOGOLLON RIM-NORTHERN GILA COUNTY-
YAVAPAI COUNTY VALLEYS AND BASINS-OAK CREEK AND SYCAMORE CANYONS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...FREDONIA...PAGE...
GRAND CANYON VILLAGE...SUPAI...PRESCOTT...FLAGSTAFF...PAYSON...
SEDONA
523 AM MST TUE DEC 30 2014

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM WEDNESDAY TO 5 PM MST
THURSDAY FOR NORTHWEST ARIZONA ABOVE 3500 FEET ELEVATION...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN FLAGSTAFF HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM
WEDNESDAY TO 5 PM MST THURSDAY.

* TIMING...WIDESPREAD SNOW WILL INCREASE FROM WEST TO EAST
  ON WEDNESDAY. THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED TO FALL FROM
  MID MORNING WEDNESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT...TAPERING OFF
  TO SHOWERS ON THURSDAY.

* GENERAL EVENT TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...6-14 INCHES ARE
  EXPECTED AT ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5000 FEET IN THE WARNED
  AREA...WITH 2-6 INCHES BELOW 5000 FEET.

* SNOWFALL FORECAST FROM 5 AM MST WEDNESDAY UNTIL 5 PM MST
  THURSDAY...

   CHINO VALLEY  4 TO 6  INCHES      COTTONWOOD  1 TO 3  INCHES
     DONEY PARK  7 TO 11 INCHES       FLAGSTAFF  9 TO 13 INCHES
   FOREST LAKES 13 TO 19 INCHES        FREDONIA  4 TO 8  INCHES
   GRAND CANYON  9 TO 13 INCHES HEBER-OVERGAARD  6 TO 10 INCHES
     JACOB LAKE  9 TO 15 INCHES            PAGE  4 TO 6  INCHES
        PAULDEN  4 TO 6  INCHES          PAYSON  5 TO 9  INCHES
PINE-STRAWBERRY  8 TO 12 INCHES PRESCOTT VALLEY  4 TO 8  INCHES
       PRESCOTT  4 TO 8  INCHES          SEDONA  3 TO 6  INCHES
       SELIGMAN  5 TO 9  INCHES           VALLE  6 TO 10 INCHES
       WILLIAMS  9 TO 15 INCHES

* OTHER IMPACTS...THIS IS A COLD SYSTEM...AND SNOW WILL FALL TO
  THE VALLEY FLOORS BY THURSDAY MORNING. BE PREPARED FOR HAZARDOUS
  WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS ON ALL ROADS IN NORTHERN ARIZONA
  DURING THIS EVENT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING...DUE TO SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW AND
STRONG WINDS PRODUCING LIMITED VISIBILITIES.

DRIVING WILL BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS DURING THIS STORM. FOR THE
LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS AND CLOSURES...CALL THE ADOT FREEWAY
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AT 1 888 411 7623 OR VISIT THEIR WEB SITE AT
WWW.AZ511.COM.

ADDITIONAL WEATHER INFORMATION IS ON THE WEB AT
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/FLAGSTAFF.
 Posted by at 6:43 am
Dec 162014
 

More water is on its way. We are about an inch and a half above average precipitation for December. Most of this has fallen as rain. This next round of precipitation is causing a conundrum. The models keep drifting. The weather forecasts have often changed. I think I saw one forecast last night that claimed 4-8 inches for Wednesday. Now, the forecasts are in the 1-3 inches here, 1-2 inches there range.

The computer models still have a fair amount of precipitation in them. We’ll have to wait and see on this one. We could get surprised.

It looks like the next storm is about a week behind this one.

 Posted by at 5:41 am
Dec 022014
 

Things have continued to develop. Temperatures in Flagstaff are going to stay above normal for the next few days. The cut-off low pressure system I thought we would have this week is melting. We will get some precipitation in the form of rain.

Longer term, the storm track should develop and drop to the south in the next couple weeks.

 Posted by at 8:17 am
Nov 252014
 

I laugh quietly to myself with that headline. It’s not even Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving will be beautiful. We have a bit of time before we should expect snow. But only a bit. I wonder what price we will pay for a beautiful Thanksgiving?

I don’t think we will have a foot of snow next week. But it might be pretty close. A large, strong Alaskan storm system will drop south to the California coast, then take off towards the east. The NoGAPs image below shows the storm drawing plenty of tropical moisture towards Arizona. All of the forecasting websites I check are very well aligned around a storm next week. For now, I think accumulations will stay below a foot of snow for most of Northern Arizona. Depending on temperatures, we may start with rain. Keep in mind, it is still over a week away. Everything can change, but the current alignment is remarkable.

This storm is right on plan with the new 1 and 3 month precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center shown below. I think we are a bit beyond whether this winter will be an El Nino winter or not. These outlooks predict above average precipitation for us.

Eastern Pacific precipitation outlook for Tuesday Morning, December 2, 2014

Eastern Pacific precipitation outlook for Tuesday Morning, December 2, 2014

One month precipitation outlook from the Climate Predication Center. November 20, 2014

One month precipitation outlook from the Climate Predication Center. November 20, 2014

Three month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. (November 20, 2014)

Three month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. (November 20, 2014)

 Posted by at 6:44 am
Sep 272014
 

A strong cold front is crossing Arizona from west to east today. While the moisture is coming from the south, the cold front is a winter weather phenomenon for Arizona. We are expecting fast-moving thunderstorms with heavy rain and other severe weather. This is reminiscent of the storms on October 6, 2010.

The National Weather Service isn’t taking any chances. They have posted severe weather watches and warnings. Check their website for updates.

 

Weather Story from the National Weather Service (Septemer 27, 2014)

Weather Story from the National Weather Service (Septemer 27, 2014)

 Posted by at 7:02 am
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