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Short Range Forecast Discussion - Updated for Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - Today we see mostly isolated snow showers at times as a weak weather disturbance moves through Colorado. Snow showers are expected to increase slightly tonight, as the next storm approaches. It is looking like the next storm may be another southern mover, favoring southern Colorado tonight, Wednesday and Thursday, but it is looking like we will have enough moisture and dynamics for a moderate shot of snow across northern Colorado including Aspen-Snowmass. This weekend we see upper-level high pressure ridging build in, with southwest Colorado mostly snow free after Friday, and northern areas, mainly east of Vail Pass and north of I-70 looking at potential for moderate snowfall, as storms clip the area out of the northwest (colder storms). Aspen-Snowmass is expected to see mostly light snow with these weekend systems. (please see the longer range forecasts toward the bottom of this page) CM
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7 day to 2 week+ forecast (since 1998) - 22 December to 01 January, 2014 - COLORADO/ NEW MEXICO: All next week (22nd onward) we expect a more favorable northern storm track (all Christmas week), for better chances of better than light, and more powdery/ cold snow, due to the colder storm origins from out of the Gulf of Alaska and crossing Canada on the way in. After Christmas week and toward the end of 2014, we expect storm-blocking higher pressure ridging to build in across the area, with more sunshine and less potential for any snow. NORTHWEST US and SOUTHWEST CANADA: High pressure pushes in across the area from the southwest US and eastern Pacific much of Christmas week, with some tail ends of storms (warmer southern portion) moving through, causing rain showers and higher elevation snow showers, with mostly rain at and below ski resort base elevations (snow level issues, rain mix at base elevations) across the Pacific Northwest including north Idaho ski resorts. Southwest Canada (Alberta/ British Columbia) should see less snow level issues and more snow potential than Inland Northwest ski resorts, all through Christmas week. It looks like the Inland Northwest may see a white Christmas, showing up a day or so before Christmas in the form of a colder storm (Christmas eve/ Christmas snow for Coeur d'Alene/ Spokane). SOUTHWEST US AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA; Mostly dry with high pressure ridging dominating for Christmas week and possibly through the end of the year. This outlook includes southern California resort areas like Mountain High. UTAH looks like it may get clipped (northern Utah) Christmas day (or the day before/ day after), but mostly sunny skies may dominate all week under high pressure. WYOMING/ MONTANA We expect high pressure to set up across the southwest US, with storms again targeting the Pacific Northwest/ southwest Canada, and Wyoming/ Montana, for a nice freshen up of colder snow and temperatures before the major holiday, and during it. CM
Longer Range Outlook
December 2014, we are in a weak El Nino Sea Surface Temperature pattern across the Equatorial Eastern Pacific. (prior forecast-->) Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies yield a weak El Nino pattern across the eastern Equatorial Pacific (El Nino development is on track, but it will be weak, still somewhat favorable for California (Tahoe-Mammoth/ SoCal) and the desert Southwest, plus southwest Colorado and northern New Mexico).
A weak El Nino (or possible "neutral" pattern) is expected for this winter, into early 2015.
Northwest US areas, and southwest Canada, along with northern Colorado through Wyoming and the northern Rocky Mountains, should expect a drier than average, or near average snowfall winter (2014-2015). Tahoe/ Mammoth should see near average snowfall, with near average snowfall also expected across southern California and northern Arizona resorts. CM
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