San Juan Mountains Weather: Big Early Season Snowfall?

San Juan Mountains Weather: Big Early Season Snowfall?

SJ-Weather_withJR_small-square_webWestern Colorado is about to transition from beautiful autumn conditions to winter weather this weekend.  Models lacked consensus the past week but now generally agree with differences in the details.  There is a deep long wave trough forming over the west with several NW systems moving through over the weekend. Possibilities are good for a long mountain snowfall event from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning with probable lulls or breaks in the action.

A shortwave trough will move into the Great Basin overnight bringing good round of precipitation into the San Juans and western Colorado on Friday.  A cold front precedes the system as you can feel in the air today.  Strong southwest flow will develop ahead of the trough with good precip over south to southwest slopes. Precipitation should become widespread by tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.

The second of the two systems will move rapidly down the backside of the trough on Saturday and models are in agreement for increased precipitation.  Cold air advection (transport of an atmospheric property by the wind) with the cold front ahead of the storm, combined with good orographic lift point to decent snowfall Saturday into early Sunday.  If it all turns out, the higher elevations of the San Juans could receive a foot or more of new snow on WSW slopes above 11,000′.

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