Feb 052014
 

UPDATED: 5:45pm AZ time – See below

The Weather service is being clear about their expectations for the end of the week. On their forecast, they have Thursday night as the period with the heaviest precipitation. This is their Weather Story for today.

Snowfall outlook for the rest of the week, from the National Weather Service in Flagstaff

Snowfall outlook for the rest of the week, from the National Weather Service in Flagstaff

But the North American Mesoscale(NAM) model has us drawing a blank for the next few days. The lower resolution GFS model shows a situation similar to the Weather Story above. Aaarrrggghhh!

2-5 Inches is probably a good guess. At this point, 4-8 seems like a stretch. The computer models are often and by large amounts. We’ll see. It’s possible the next few days could be just like the last few.

UPDATE - So, just to make the point…. The NAM model has shifted tonight. We are back in the 3-8 inch range for snowfall amounts between now and midday Friday. All I can say is “Be ready.” It will probably snow. We may receive a decent amount.

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

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

 Posted by at 7:04 am
Feb 032014
 

We continue to have a chance for snow over the next couple days. We should only get light accumulations. Temperatures will remain cooler than what we had experienced in January. A stronger storm remains in the forecast for Friday and Saturday. It won’t be a drought buster, but should bring us several inches of snow.

 Posted by at 6:23 am
Jan 312014
 

Finally, I real break in the storm pattern appears to be at the other end of next week. In the current GFS model run, the precipitation starts Thursday night and lingers into Saturday afternoon. On the map below, there is a very nice dark blue area over Flagstaff. This represents 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of water, or roughly 6-8 inches of snow. Welcome back winter!

20140201-072928.jpg

 Posted by at 5:29 pm
Jan 292014
 

Just, exactly far enough south to give us a break.I must’ve told half a dozen people over the next week that it looked like it would be weeks before we saw any wet weather. Looks like that did the trick. Please, if you could, do something to help it snow. Wash your car, put away your snow shovels and blowers.

It looks like this week’s storm will have two parts to it. The first part will hit on Friday. The second part will hit Saturday night into Sunday. Scattered light precipitation could fall in between and linger in the area afterwards. There isn’t much water in either part. At best, it looks like either storm could produce a few inches of snow. Any precipitation will occur only the higher elevations of Northern Arizona. The San Francisco Peaks could see more.

Hopefully, this will represent a longer term shift. Currently, when the storms leave, we return to high pressure and warm, sunny conditions. The very long-range output of the GFS model has wetter conditions.

 Posted by at 6:34 am
Jan 132014
 

The short, medium and long-term outlooks for Arizona have a fairly common theme, sunny and warmer than normal. This mornings 16-day outlook on the GFS model paints a distinctive picture. This model forecasts high pressure to rule the rest of the month. This is always subject to change. But the jet stream is very far to the north. As a result, the storm track is nowhere near Arizona. We shouldn’t expect snow anytime soon.

384-hour (16-day) precipitation outlook. GFS model at the Climate Prediction Center.

384-hour (16-day) precipitation outlook. GFS model at the Climate Prediction Center.

 Posted by at 6:41 am
Dec 192013
 

Tonight through tomorrow, we should receive some snow. The computer models have been all over the place. Often they show the storm missing us and forming to the south and east. Currently, the outlook is for 1-6 inches over the next couple of days. This could make the “get out-of-town” drive rougher.

For now, our pattern seems as small storms forming in or around Arizona, the moving off to the east and clobbering the East Coast and New England.

 Posted by at 6:37 am
Dec 042013
 

Neither of the storms on the horizon are packing a lot of moisture for Flagstaff. A few inches will fall today through tomorrow. Then, a few inches will fall over the weekend. The real news is the very cold temperatures on the way. With highs in the twenties and lows in the single digits, we will be 5-10 degrees below normal on several days over the next few days.

The image below isn’t a pretty as it could be. It does tell the temperature story. This image shows the average maximum temperature anomaly for the next 5 days. Brrrr. Flagstaff is in the -12 to -15 degree band. The snow probably won’t be melting very fast.

5-day average maximum temperature anomaly. National Weather Service

5-day average maximum temperature anomaly. National Weather Service

 Posted by at 5:24 am
Dec 022013
 

I kept wondering what was going to happen to the storm that rolled up to the West Coast and then disappeared. Apparently, it brought the fog and freezing fog.

The next few storms (that’s right, the next few) will bring more significant precipitation and colder temperatures. Starting Tuesday, temperatures will drop. By Friday morning, we will see single digit temperatures in the Flagstaff area. Many lower elevations will experience freezing conditions. None of the storms over the next week or two seem will break records. But, a few inches here and a few inches there can add up with the low temperatures.

This afternoon will probably give the best set of outlooks since the Thanksgiving break. We’ll see if the outlooks hold.

 Posted by at 7:16 am
Nov 262013
 

I don’t think the right question to ask now is if it will snow this weekend, or next week? I don’t think the right question to ask is whether or not the next storm will break precipitation records like the last one? I think the right question to ask is whether Switzer Canyon Drive will be drivable after the next storm or two.

The goofy work pattern on the road has made it a complete mess. The temporary (At least, I hope they are temporary.) patches are already falling apart. They weren’t smooth before the last storm. But now they are developing potholes and little piles of rubble. Seriously, this can’t be right.

This weekend, there are a couple of small chances for precipitation. I’m not hopeful. But, we could receive a good-sized storm middle to late next week. This weekend, we may see the remnants of a Pacific storm that is going to slam into our high pressure system and more or less dissolve. But, the storm track is tending in our direction. The models are not consistent yet. It is a long way out. But the next storm could be significant.

Climate Prediction Center's 8-14 day precipitation outlook for December 3-9, 2013.

Climate Prediction Center’s 8-14 day precipitation outlook for December 3-9, 2013.

If we really are in for another big storm, Switzer Canyon will be toast!

 Posted by at 7:08 am
Nov 212013
 

According to the National Weather Service, Arizona Snowbowl should expect 3-4 feet of snow between now and Saturday evening. Chances for snow continue through Sunday night and Monday. Most of Arizona should expect over an inch of water to arrive between now and Sunday. The weather will be cool and wet all over Arizona.

Looking at the broader forecast area, Southwestern Colorado is also expecting plenty of snow from this system.

North American Mesoscale 84-hour total precipitation outlook.

North American Mesoscale 84-hour total precipitation outlook.

 Posted by at 4:30 am
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