Cooling temperatures and beginning of autumn? From Mountain Weather Master, Joe Ramey

Hello MWM,
Meteorological 2017 summer ends tomorrow, Thursday. That is a bit of a bold statement. But these well-above normal temperatures of late summer  look like they will be replaced with below normal temperatures for the foreseeable future. Saturday morning, we may see our first seasonal snow over the Park and Gore Ranges of NW Colorado.
Back in the dark ages when I went to school, I remember a professor teaching about the concept of singularities. A singularity is a meteorological event that marks a significant shift in the weather patterns. At the time, in the 1980s, we knew that the persistence tool, that is forecasting today what had happened yesterday, would statistically yield the highest accuracy. The problem with persistence is that you miss every singularity that will impact your users.
The next few days look like the singularity that introduces the fall season weather pattern and brings an end this warm summer.
In current satellite imagery, you can see a closed low spinning along the central California coast and progressive, open troughs working across the NE Pacific towards shore. The closed Low will open tonight and work across western Colorado bringing increased chances of showers and cooler temperatures for Thursday into Friday. Then early Saturday, a strong cold front, associated with the next progressive trough, passes. This will take 700mb (about 10,000ft MSL) temperatures below 0C. Steamboat Mountain and Winter Park could get their first snowfall of the season. SW Colorado will remain moisture starved. Temperatures across northern and central Colorado will drop around 15 degrees below today’s high temperatures. You can see this in the latest 6-10 and 8-14 day outlook.
The western CONUS will quickly shift from above normal to below normal temperatures. The storm track will tend to favor the northern Rockies. The monsoon as we know it (subtropical high near or east of the Four Corners with subtropical moisture bubbling up from Mexico) will be over. There is still a good chance that cold-core Pacific storms will work across the Intermountain West and pull good moisture up from Mexico. It is that pattern that makes September and October some of our wettest months of the year on the West Slope.
You can read the latest thoughts of the local NWS forecasters here.
So enjoy your shorts and sandals, and ready your wool.

From former NWS meteorologist Joe Ramey

Mountain Weather Masters
For August 2017, the expected late-day showers and storms seemed to favor the Colorado mountains and onto the Front Range. The far West Slope and Utah saw less of the monsoonal moisture. Of the 12 sites I monitor (these sites plus Denver and Salt Lake City), only Montrose and Denver received above average rainfall.  Temperatures generally were below normal across the south (at Durango, Cortez, Montrose, and Denver) and above normal central and north. Utah sites were very warm. This has produced some developing short-term drought conditions across NW Colorado. High pressure built over the Great Basin for the last days of August. The resulting NW flow cut off the monsoonal moisture and produced a strong drying and warming trend at the end the month.
The Great Basin ridge has continued into early September. It will dive down the Front Range this Monday night bringing less-hot temperatures east of the Continental Divide. For the West Slope the main effect will be more Montana smoke being pushed into the area. By Thursday the upper ridge will be pushed to the southeast as a trough works onto the West Coast. This will bring back some daily storms starting Friday. The current 8-14 day outlook (for 11-17 September) shows increased chances of wet returning to the Great Basin and Colorado, with drier than normal expected in the plains states under the ridge.
In the latest outlook from the CPC, you can see this pattern continues with wetter-than-normal odds for Colorado and the Great Basin. The autumn season of Sep-Oct-Nov shows less precipitation skill with EC or Equal Chances there. In the temperature outlook, you can see little skill for Colorado in September. The climate change signal has the entire country warmer than normal for the fall season favoring the Desert SW and Alaska.
Conditions in the Pacific have shown little change through the summer. The Nino 3.4 region along the equator is near normal. The best forecast is for ENSO to hover on the warm side of Neutral or perhaps a weak El Nino through the fall and into early winter.  Further north in the Pacific, the northern basin also returned to near normal.
ENSO Neutral conditions take away all of  our already meager outlook skill. So not only do we not know what is going to happen, we really don’t know what’s going to happen this fall and early winter. It is a blank slate!
Now going way out into the fall of 2018, the CPC continues to show a strong warm signal for the next 12 months especially over the Desert SW. The long-range precipitation outlook as usual shows lots of EC (Equal Chances) or low forecast skill.
Enjoy the dry next few days and the return of showers late this week.
All the Best,
Joe Ramey

Peter Shelton’s latest book ‘Tracks in the Snow’ just published …

tracks… front cover.jpg

Viejo y buen amigo Peter Shelton has cobbled together another cool book about his world of skiing.  Stories selected on a more personal level, adventures around the world and in his backyard, the San Juan Mountains. His words like his turns are always well crafted and complete.



Peter Shelton is simply one of the best ski writers—ever. His deft literary style would have gained him that distinction in whatever world he chose to land and to write about. But those of us who love this dance down snow-covered mountains that we call skiing are lucky that Peter’s passion, athletic gifts, and imagination led him to skiing. And that in ski writing he found his natural medium in a celebration of winter, grace and movement. On the pages of SKI magazine, and in a host of other Rocky Mountain and national publications, Peter has covered, explored and explained, and above all brought to life, the full spectrum of snowy adventures on two boards. Racing, high-alpine touring, avalanche busting, ski travel to the most exotic locations on our snowy planet, and the joys and challenges of raising a beautiful skiing family. It’s all here. I have followed Peter’s writing about this sport we both treasure for years, and I can’t imagine a better companion for a day on skis – in midwinter thigh-deep powder, on velvet-textured spring corn, or on the printed page. In Tracks in the Snow Peter has collected all his favorite, and most intensely personal ski writing. These stories and tales of unforgettable moments on skis coalesce into a vivid autobiography of a remarkably rich and creative skier’s life.

 You are going to love this book!

Lito Tejada-Flores

Tracks in the Snow

Stories from a Life on Skis

by Peter Shelton, 250 pages, $15.95 softbound, plus shipping

Order from Western Eye Press

 Also available through, and soon to be available as a Kindle eBook.

master/student relationship continues along the San Miguel …

master ~ Mike Friedman dispensing years of acquired wisdom onto student ~ Pete Lev today on the San Miguel River.

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P. Lev throws first cast with the master 



End of casting lesson followed by self-criticism & re-education session and other worldly conversations.


master and student

student and master-

 no importa …


photos and haiku credit, rōbert

~ Pisco Hour at Mountain Girl Gallery’s end of summer gallery night fiesta ~ Wed evening 5-7


Join us for our final summer open gallery night at the Mountain Girl Gallery on beautiful Clinton Street in downtown Ridgway. We will have live music, pisco sours, vino tinto y blanco and appetizers.  Oh ya, great art and GOOD TIMES!  Guest bartenders Brandi and rōbert shaking their famoso pisco sours.