Saturday, November 12, 2011

Snow - and Wind - Increasing Across Central Rockies...

The radar doesn't really do the situation justice in higher elevations, but trust me when I tell you that snow is on the increase across the central Rockies late this afternoon (see radar mosaic image above).  A zoom-in on the Grand Junction, CO shows a little more of the action, but you really have to look at the surface weather observations (which are also shown if you look closely) in order to get the true picture of what's going on:

The increase in precipitation is taking place as a mid and upper level weather disturbance moves into the region from the Southwest (as shown by the red arrow on the latest water vapor satellite image below):

Snow will continue to increase across the higher elevations of the region during the evening and overnight hours, with the current GFS model forecasting better than a foot of fresh powder for many of the ski areas.  The first model image below is centered on Grand Junction (scale in inches at the bottom of the image):

...and the second is centered on Denver (disregard the pink box to the East of Denver - model "noise" I guess you could say):

The other big story with this system is the wind.  The red arrow that I drew on the water vapor image earlier in the post roughly corresponds with the location of an increase in middle and upper level jet stream winds.  These stronger winds are working down to the surface level in some areas, particularly along the front range and foothills to the West of Colorado Springs.  The image below shows the peak wind gust (red numbers inside of the white boxes) at airport reporting stations this hour.  I have circled the areas with 50+ mph wind gusts in red:

The highest wind I could find this last hour was a gust to 62 mph at Salida Mountain (Monarch Pass), to the West/Southwest of Colorado Springs.  The wind graph at that station is inset on the center right portion of the image above.  You can see that the station has observed sustained winds of 40-45 mph with gusts of 60-65 mph for a couple of hours now.

Winds will continue to howl in association with the system along much of the front range and foothills, as well as the adjacent inner-mountain region this evening.  High wind warnings and/or advisories are in effect for much of the region, as well as blizzard warnings in areas that are forecast to receive both heavy snow and high winds:

If you enjoy reading 'The Original Weather Blog', please be sure to "like" our facebook page!

No comments: