Forecasting Tricks for the Vail Valley (February 4, 2014)

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Information about Forecasting Tricks for the Vail Valley (February 4, 2014)
Sports

Published on February 6, 2014

Author: findOpensnow

Source: slideshare.net

Forecasting tricks for the Vail Valley. Meteorologist Joel Gratz Photo: Connor Walberg ActionPhotoSchool.com

1960 2005

I want to remove the mystery of Colorado weather.

Hi, I’m Joel Gratz. I grew up in Pennsylvania, ski raced and instructed, then moved to Colorado after college.

And I started to miss powder days due to inaccurate forecasts.

So I learned how to forecast in Colorado, and started to share. Dec 2007 28 people email list 2008-2009 500 people email list 2009-2010 245,000 pageviews 2010-2011 1,315,000 pageviews 2011-2012 3,330,000 pageviews 2012-2013 12,000,000 pageviews 2013-2014 ~18,000,000 pageviews

This is where we look for El Nino or La Nina.

Storm tracks for La Nina. Courtesy: Mike Baker, NWS Boulder

Storm tracks for El Nino. Courtesy: Mike Baker, NWS Boulder

But it is (probably) a La Nada.

Storm tracks for La Nada. Courtesy: Mike Baker, NWS Boulder

It snowed in Aspen during September. Of the past 22 Septembers with snow, 19 of the ensuing winters have been average or above. - Cory Gates, AspenWeather.net

Perhaps there’s another clue. ! We set a snowfall record in April and a rainfall record in September for Boulder. Does this tell us anything about winter snow in the mountains?

Each line shows amount of snow on the ground for various weather stations, during winters after heavy precipitation in Boulder. 160% 150% 140% 130% 120% 110% 100% Dec 1 Jan 1 Feb 1 Mar 1 April 1

118 Yampa and White Steamboat Springs 115 Fort Collins South Platte 76 § ¦ ¨ ! ! ! ! Boulder 123 ! ! Upper Colorado Headwaters [ ( _ ! Denver Glenwood Springs ! ! 121 70 § ¦ ¨ Aspen! ! ! ! Grand Junction Colorado Springs Gunnison 105 San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan ! ! Arkansas ! ! Gunnison ! ! Ouray 25 § ¦ ¨ ! ! 84 82 Alamosa ! ! ! ! Durango Upper Rio Grande Pueblo 114

UPPER GREEN 112 109 98 136 111 Fort Collins 139 NORTH PLATTE 105 Steamboat Springs 116 WHITE-YAMPA 135 131 113 105 105 109 175 97 156 120 153 132 111 88 103 141 SOUTH PLATTE 137 128 131 125 80 131 102 133 101 114 107 COLORADO HEADWATERS d Junction 87 113 104 96 131 141 115 120 138 142 121 129 145 Leadville 123 152 97 119 127 163 129 131 130 Denver 149 112 Colorado Springs 112 108 127 GUNNISON Gunnison 122 76 UPPER Pueblo UPPER COLORADO-DOLORES OWER N JUAN 126 25 83 107 70 111 110 92 109 80 57 58 88 UPPER SAN JUAN 104 95 RIO GRANDE HEADWATERS 107 110 89 90 88 126 107 Durango 107 Alamosa 80 54 86 54 68 108 101 59

This year Average

2010-2011 Average

2010-2011 2013-2014

Long range forecasts stink! ! We cannot reliably predict snow accumulations beyond about two weeks. Seasonal outlooks are even worse.

Actual Storm Track

16 Day Forecast

15 Day Forecast

14 Day Forecast

13 Day Forecast

12 Day Forecast

11 Day Forecast

10 Day Forecast

9 Day Forecast

8 Day Forecast

7 Day Forecast

6 Day Forecast

5 Day Forecast

4 Day Forecast

3 Day Forecast

2 Day Forecast

1 Day Forecast

Actual Storm Track

Weather happens when moist air gets high 1 2 3

Where’s the moisture? Less moisture (land source) Lots of moisture
 (ocean source) OK moisture (ocean + plants)

Orographics get air high

Mountains = Precipitation Indian Peaks / RMNP Park Range Flattops Gore Ten Mile & Mosquito Grand Mesa Elk Mtns N&S San Juans Sawatch Sangre de
 Christo East San Juans

Favorable wind directions Steamboat RMNP Summit Co. Aspen Powderhorn Vail Crested Butte Telluride Silverton Wolf Creek

Vail: Northwest winds e or G Ra e ng Beaver Creek Vail Vail Pass

Beaver Creek: West winds e or G Ra e ng Beaver Creek Vail Vail Pass

Breckenridge: NW to N winds e or G Ra e ng Vail Pass

Telluride: West & WNW winds

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/primer/primer.htm

Moisture in the air 10F 0F Temperature >> colder

The best snow requires... • Lots of moisture
 • Mountain top temperatures 
 between about 0-10F
 • Best wind for Beaver Creek = West Vail = Northwest

Wind directions? Complicated. What about radar? ! Nope. There’s a problem...

Radar

Jamming the Radar

Overshooting the Snow 0.5 deg

Denver Airport Grand Mesa Pueblo http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/nexradinv/

Steamboat BC / Vail Aspen RMNP Summit Co. Crested Butte Telluride Wolf Creek http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/nexradinv/

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/nexradinv/

4.8 mile resolution 2.4 mile resolution

4.8 mile resolution 2.4 mile resolution

4.8 mile resolution 2.4 mile resolution

Model Accuracy at 6-day forecast European = British = Canadian = American = 0.845 0.825 0.820 0.807

How to plan 7-10 days 4-5 days 2-3 days

Apps!

January 30-31: Explained

Weather happens when moist air gets high 1 2 3

Weather happens when moist air gets high 1 2 3

WEATHER 101: Five ways to get high D is for dynamic. This is complicated - it’s all physics. Jet Stream
 (river of fast air)
 30,000ft
 300mb Induces upward motion by “pulling” surface air upward into the void left by the fast-moving air above. Similar to opening a car window while moving and having a piece of paper “sucked” out.
 http://www.clker.com/cliparts/e/4/9/a/12401693261710228990Kliponius_Mountain_in_a_Cartoon_Style.svg.med.png

WEATHER 101: Five ways to get high U is for undercut. Cold front moving left-to-right Cold Air Warm Air http://www.clker.com/cliparts/e/4/9/a/12401693261710228990Kliponius_Mountain_in_a_Cartoon_Style.svg.med.png

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/primer/primer.htm

18,000ft Mtn Top http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/primer/primer.htm

Joel Gratz joel@opensnow.com

What’s the forecast? To the internet!

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