Weather: The problem with forecasts …

Outlook uncertain, so do your snow dance …

A complex Pacific weather pattern may send some Pacific storm energy toward Colorado next week — or, the flow may split once again, sending storms to the north and south of the state.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a small “surprise” storm Wednesday night delivered several inches of snow to most of Colorado’s mountains, the outlook is once again murky, as forecasters struggle to decipher a complex storm track for next week.

A misleading tweet suggesting fresh snow for last weekend, while all the credible forecasts were pointing toward a classic upslope storm, with most snow falling east of the Divide. But when it comes to luring people to the mountains, reality and truth take a back seat to hype.

Bottom line: If you start seeing a flurry of tweets and other messages from the usual suspects about incoming powder, don’t hold your breath just yet. Alright, I’ll name names, what the heck – How did that 6-12 inches work out for you last week, Vail Resorts?

Of course there are always a few crystal-ball gazers and resort boosters who don’t have a problem with putting a potentially misleading spin on the forecast, like this bit, calling for a “changing weather pattern” next week.Turns out that the story is based on another popular forecasting website. But if visit that site, you’ll see that the Colorado outlook actually says something quite different from the way it was interpreted.

Which leaves us with the National Weather Service, where the official forecast presents a mixed bag, with at least some hope for more snow potentially starting Sunday after a dry start to the weekend.

The outlook is for a progressive weather pattern, with an initial wave set to move across the state Sunday afternoon. While there appears to be good moisture associated with the system, but the track is still uncertain. Early model runs showed the system digging south, which would bring more snow to the San Juans. As of Thursday afternoon, some of the models are hinting that the trough might stay farther north, with less splitting, which could favor the central and even northern mountains with some snow.

Nothwithstanding the above-mentioned “pattern change,” the forecast models for Tuesday through Thursday are uncertain, with some outcome suggesting that a big western low pressure area will drift well south of the area, while other solutions show a shallower trough with lobes of energy rotating through our area out of the northwest.

At this point, it’s anybody’s guess!



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