Incoming Storm To Produce Lots Of Precipitation - But What Kind?

This Mornings NAM 500 MB Analysis At 5 AM MST.

 NAM 500 MB Forecast Valid At 5 AM MST Wednesday.

A potentially significant winter storm was located in the mid-upper levels of the atmosphere over the Central California Coast at sunrise this morning. This potent storm is going to drop south into northern Mexico and then cutoff from the main jet stream early this week. Current forecasts indicate that this next winter storm is going to dump widespread amounts of moderate to heavy rainfall, and possibly some heavy snow across the area.

 Valid At 5 PM MST Monday. 

Valid At 5 PM MST Tuesday.
Valid At 5 PM Wednesday.

 Valid At 5 PM MST Thursday.

Cutoff mid-upper level lows are notorious for being extremely difficult to forecast. Just about the only thing harder to forecast is a Hurricane. Our next inbound winter storm that will have a huge impact on the area by the middle of the week, is going to a very difficult storm to try and forecast. The small scale details of this storms exact track, and speed will determine just who gets what, and when they get it.

 Notice that the NAM model (above) deepens the storm just a tad over what the European model is calling for, and begins ejecting the cutoff low northeastward faster by about 12 hours verses the European model. I'm not sure that I buy this since cutoff's are famous for dragging their hills once they get south of us, even stalling in the same area for days.

24-Hour Total Rainfall Forecasts Valid At 5 PM Wednesday.

 Total Snowfall Forecast Valid At 5 AM Wednesday.

Widespread rain (moderate to heavy amounts) are still being forecast by last nights run of the European model. By the way its still the favored model of choice with this storm, having done a better job with our last storm than the other models. Again note that it does not give the lower elevations of west Texas, southern and southeastern New Mexico as much snow as it did our last storm. If you look closely it drops nearly a foot across the higher elevations of the Guadalupe and Sacramento mountains. 

Why? As I talked about in yesterday's blog this one is going to be a close call temperature-wise. The jury is still out this morning on exactly what this storm is going to do. With our temperatures forecast to remain just above freezing for most of the time Tuesday through Thursday, then it appears that this may be a borderline case for snow for most of us.

 But if this storm deepens and stalls just a little more, which there is a real chance it may, then we could end up seeing a mix of rain, rain and snow, and or just snow over the area. Elevation may play a key role with this storm also. The heaviest snows could potentially fall above roughly 4,000 to 5,000' MSL if the storm does not cool sufficiently to drop the snow levels to the valley floors. Keep checking back because this one is going to be a bear to try and get right.

 GFES Mean 500 MB Forecast.
Valid At 5 PM MST Monday January 14, 2013.

 This Mornings 12Z/5 AM MST GFS Temp Analysis.
Much of Siberia has temps ranging from -30F to -64F.

Last NIghts GFS 00Z/5 PM MST GFS Temp Forecast.
Valid At 5 AM MST Wednesday January 16, 2013.

 Last Nights GFS 00Z/5 PM MST GFS Temp Anomaly Forecast.
Valid At 5 AM MST Wednesday January 16, 2013.

 Last Nights GFS 00Z/5 PM MST GFS Temp Forecast.
Valid At 5 AM MST Monday January 21, 2013.

  Last Nights GFS 00Z/5 PM MST GFS Temp Anomaly Forecast.
Valid At 5 AM MST Monday January 21, 2013.

Rex Blocking is forecast to occur in the mid-levels of the atmosphere as we head towards the middle of the month. This will in part be brought on by A sudden stratospheric warming event currently getting underway.

 Basically what this means is the we are going to see some really cold air stream southward from Siberia, across the North Pole, and into the U.S. starting in about a week to ten days. Long-range models and other data indicate that we will see several waves of intense cold across the U.S. from the middle of January, continuing into the end of the month, and possibly even into February.
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