The Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University shared the following chart a few days ago. It was the first time I saw this type of visual to communicate how recent temperature and precipitation compared to average. I thought it was an effective way to display a lot of data in an easy-to-understand chart.
The vertical axis is temperature, the horizontal axis is precipitation, and the data is for the three-months of August, September, and October. You can see that 2020 (the star in the upper-left) is solidly in the “warm+dry” quadrant confirming what we all sensed – it was a warm and dry autumn! The other dots show years back to the early 1900s.
Forecast Wednesday & Thursday
We will see dry weather on both days. The only hiccup is that the latest models show a period of gusty winds on Wednesday midday. Unfortunately, temperatures should stay warm which may mean no ability to make snow even at night.
Storm Friday & Saturday
We should see showers by late Friday or Friday night and these showers will continue through Saturday.
This storm has always been a tricky one to forecast with equal chances for just light snow if all factors do not come together or a lot of snow if all factors align perfectly.
Unfortunately, the model trend is not our friend. All of the latest forecasts do NOT show that all factors will come together.
On the upside, the continued uncertainty in the forecast means that models could flip back to previous forecasts with more snow, or maybe the models just have no clue and the atmosphere will surprise us in a good way. Admittedly this is a lower-probability scenario, but it’s still a possibility.
The most likely outcome is that we’ll see showers on Friday night, then just a few mountains will see a period of more intense snow on Saturday morning through Saturday afternoon. Right now it appears that the best chance for a streak of deeper totals (6+ inches) will be over the southern mountains with lighter amounts (just a few inches) for other mountains.
The forecast map above will change many more times before the storm arrives. This storm will be warm which would result in thicker snow. That’s good for base building but maybe not for snow quality.
Looking ahead to Thanksgiving week, there’s potential for storms around Tuesday (Nov 24) and Thursday (Nov 26).