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
Nov 192013
 

Arizona Snowbowl plans to open on November 29. If the forecasts hold, they could be opening with a fresh dose of natural snow.

Tuesdays are often tricky. I don’t know why, but forecast models seem to shift on Tuesdays, dropping storms out of the forecast. Currently, the GFS and the NoGAPs models have a two-part winter storm heading to Northern Arizona. The first and weaker part should hit on Wednesday evening through Thursday night. After a brief break, precipitation will start again on Friday morning and become stronger through the weekend. Monday should bring clearing. This all depends on the models holding.

The GFS model shows 1-3 inches of precipitation falling in many parts of Arizona. The western mountains bear the brunt of the precipitation. Below is the US Navy’s NoGAPs model. This image shows 6-hour precipitation, ending Sunday morning. This shows half to three-quarters of an inch of precipitation falling during this time period. This in only one time segment of a several days long storm.

US Navy NoGAPs precipitation model for 6-hours ending Sunday morning, November  24, 2013.

US Navy NoGAPs precipitation model for 6-hours ending Sunday morning, November 24, 2013.

 Posted by at 5:03 am
Nov 132013
 

During the times between our major precipitation seasons, the winter and the monsoon, our weather becomes nice. Plenty of sunshine with occasional wind. Typically warm temperatures. Not much to blog about. If we are lucky, sometime in the fall the pattern starts to change.

The computer models are starting to churn out changes in the pattern. The first glimpse will be clouds on Thursday. The second glimpse will be this weekend with a reasonable chance of showers of some sort on Saturday and Sunday. This second glimpse isn’t completely stable in the model outlooks. Looking farther out, I think we will see a pattern change with the storm track moving down to the south to include our area. So far, precipitation forecast amounts are not large.

Little more action ahead.

 Posted by at 6:45 am
Oct 092013
 

Well, it’s only October 9, bu that is a totally the time of year to start winter storms in the Northland. The storm will no be huge. But we could see an inch here and an inch there of snow. Maybe you will see mostly rain where you are.

I think these early storms are indicative of a stronger southern storm track for the winter. It’s still too early to tell. I think this winter will be colder than average, or at least compared to most of the last 20 or so years. I’m not sure about the moisture.

 

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO NOON MST
THURSDAY FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 6500 FEET...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN FLAGSTAFF HAS ISSUED A WINTER
WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO NOON
MST THURSDAY.
* TIMING...EXPECT SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS
LATE THIS EVENING TO BECOME STEADY RAIN AND SNOW AFTER MIDNIGHT
MST. SNOW LEVELS WILL FALL THROUGH THE NIGHT. MOST LOCATIONS
ABOVE 6500 FEET WILL SEE ALL STEADY SNOW BY 5 AM MST. THE
HEAVIEST SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED FROM ABOUT 5 AM MST UNTIL 9 AM
MST...WITH PRECIPITATION BECOMING MORE SHOWERY LATER IN THE
MORNING.
* MAIN IMPACT...3 TO 5 INCHES OF NEW SNOW ABOVE 6500 FEET BY LATE
MORNING THURSDAY.
* OTHER IMPACTS...THIS IS AN UNUSUALLY EARLY AND STRONG STORM FOR
THIS TIME OF YEAR. MANY TREES STILL HAVE LEAVES AND THE WET SNOW
MAY CAUSE DAMAGE TO LIMBS AND DOWNED TREES. AREA ROADWAYS WILL
BE VERY DANGEROUS AROUND THE MORNING COMMUTE...WHEN THE PERIOD
OF HEAVIEST SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED.


A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF FALLING
SNOW WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY
ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES. PLAN EXTRA TIME FOR TRAVEL...AND
USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
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 3:04 pm
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