I finally contacted my old friend and NWS weather forecaster and guru, Joe Ramey at the Grand Junction, National Weather Service and asked him… “Joe, what’s going on with our San Juan mountain weather this season??”
From: Joe Ramey
Happy New Year Jerry, that is if you can be happy with less snow. I wasn’t too worried through December when the pattern was overly amplified. With the big ridge offf the west coast the storms were diving due south through the inter-mtn west producing only light snow here in western Colorado. By Christmas we could see that pattern breaking down to a less amplified more progressive pattern with the storms tracking across the northern tier of states, which is typical of La Nina. Also January has a strong snowy climate signal under La Nina conditions. This held out hope for increased snowfall at least favoring the northern mtns. But that pattern devolved into this moderately amplified pattern with the ridge in the eastern Pacific again blocking us from the storm path.
Now I am getting worrried with this pattern progged to persist for the next 10 days at least.
Current Snotel sites are running roughly 60-70% of average for this date (Upper Rio Grand and Arkansas are still higher from the upslope events in Dec) ftp://ftp.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/data/snow/update/co.txt and of course these percentages will be dropping significantly over the next week or more.
The storm for Saturday is still only producing 1-3 inches in the mtns north of highway 50. The official 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts reflect this pattern with increased probabilities of below normal precipitation. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/climate/main.php?type=outlook&page=temp_pcpn.php The longer Jan-Feb-Mar seasonal outlook still holds on to the La Nina pattern of increased snowfall across the north.
Crossing all my appendages with hopes for a pattern change…before its too late!