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
Mar 122014
 

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.

North American Mesoscale Model forecast for precipitation between today and Friday evening. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

North American Mesoscale Model forecast for precipitation between today and Friday evening. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center

 

 Posted by at 8:13 am
Mar 022014
 

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.

Daily radar precipitation summary from Intellicast.com

Daily radar precipitation summary from Intellicast.com

 Posted by at 7:08 am
Feb 282014
 

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
 Posted by at 4:38 am
Feb 262014
 

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.

5-day precipitation outlook, ending Monday morning, 3-3-2014. From the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center

5-day precipitation outlook, ending Monday morning, 3-3-2014. From the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Weather Prediction Center

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?

5-day minimum temperature anomaly from the NWS's Weather Prediction Center.

5-day minimum temperature anomaly from the NWS’s Weather Prediction Center.

 Posted by at 4:10 am
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