Category Archives: Winter Weather


Updated Wed 07:40PM — Today’s models continue with the idea that some light rain may graze us early Saturday morning.  No snow.

GFS Simulated Radar 8AM Saturday

The NAM has backed off of last night’s snow forecast and shows only light rain showers possible before daybreak Saturday into Saturday morning.

NAM simulated radar forecast for 3 AM Saturday morning. Critical temp lines (blue) for snow too far north (arrows)

What’s fascinating about this weather event is how far apart different models are with the development and location of the low pressure system at this point in time.  Here’s the Canadian Global model:

Canadian Global Precipitation forecast Saturday 8 AM

…from Wednesday morning—

So, things seemed very clear last night with the forecast for Saturday.  Most of the models had the storm well east and south of us, barely affecting us. The Canadian and ECMWF are still south and east, with no precip here.

That’s also still true of the GFS and GEFS, but not so clear cut with the  higher resolution NAM that has just come into forecast range (84 hours is the max forecast horizon for the NAM).

The NAM runs from last night and early morning have the storm side-swiping our area with a coating to an inch of snow early Saturday morning:

NAM snow depth forecast 10 AM Saturday

The German ICON ensemble model has a somewhat similar snow depth of less than an inch further west:

ICON Ensemble Model snow depth forecast Saturday

The GFS, showing no snow,  has done the best this year.   I’ll keep an eye on it.


Update Sat 03:35 PM — The changeover to sleet has occurred  in the time frame predicted by the NAM model.

The 1PM run of the NAM, which just became available, predicts some freezing rain here between 5-6 PM.

NAM 18Z model forecast for 6 PM-   Freezing rain in red, sleet -pink,  green rain

Update Sat 12:14 PM — Latest Canadian Global, just available, is very similar to the  lower accumulations of the NAM.

CMC GDPS Model Snow accumulation totals 7 PM

Update Sat 11:55 AM — Earlier, I said I was going with the NAM model’s lower accumulations, but the latest GFS just available still insists on more.  It has been very consistent and it’s something that needs to be considered as a possibility.

Latest GFS model continues with higher snow totals at 7 PM.    Click for larger image.

Update Sat 09:04 AM — NAM data just became available.  I think we’re going to go with these much lower snow/sleet totals—

Last night’s models have continued the dichotomy between the global models and the short range high resolution models.

The short range (NAM, NAM NEST) have further reduced accumulations.  Here’s the latest NAM snow/sleet depth for 7 PM tonight—

NAM Snow/sleet depth at 7 PM Saturday.  Click for larger image

These models continue with a warming above 6000 feet, changing the precip to sleet by 3-4 PM.

The global models (GFS, CMC, ECMWF) continue with lower level cold and dynamic cooling from heavier precip.  They maintain snow levels almost 1 inch over the above totals.

Just as last night, I’m leaning towards the NAM and the lower snow/sleet totals shown above. I’m assuming the GFS is over-doing the cold air and precip.


Tonight’s models have converged on a forecast similar to that predicted by the new NBM—

Snow moves in between 10 AM and 12 noon, although intermittent flurries possible earlier.

A changeover to a mix of snow and sleet occurs about 3-4 pm and a the mix  changes to mostly rain about 6 pm.

Most likely accumulations of snow and sleet from the latest NAM before the changeover to all rain—

NAM snow depth forecast 6PM Saturday

Just as I was going to post this, the latest GFS model became available.  The GFS has a burst of snow late in the afternoon.  It has been consistently in the high range.  Here’s the latest GFS snow totals by 7 pm  —

GFS snow depth

I don’t know what to make of this. It’s something to consider as a possibility.


Update Fri 7:30 PM — Latest high resolution Canadian and GEFS ensemble are similar to  the NBM accumulation forecast posted below.

For the start time:  Latest High Resolution Window Ensemble Forecast Model (HREF) has very some very light flurries moving in from the west,  starting as early as 9-10 AM:

HREF Ensemble Precipitation Forecast..  Light flurries moves in  as early as 9:30 AM Saturday.

Update Fri 04:30 PM — NBM data back online.  Here’s the latest median snow/sleet accumulation for Saturday 7PM:

National Blend of Models (NBM) median snow/sleet 7PM Saturday.   Click for larger image.

… from earlier this afternoon—

An interesting winter mixed precipitation type scenario setting up for Saturday. There are differences between the short range regional high resolution models and global models.

Most models have snow starting here about 10AM-12 noon. with some intermittent light snow flurries possible earlier.  (The Canadian models have a later start)  Precipitation ends about 7-9 PM Saturday.

As for snow/sleet accumulation totals:
Today’s global models (GFS CMC-GDPS amd ECMWF) have all increased their snow/sleet totals somewhat from previous days.  Here’s the latest GFS snow/sleet totals:

GFS Snow-sleet depth totals for 6 PM Saturday. Click for larger image

Meanwhile, the NAM and higher resolution models have very different predictions due to a warmer profile at about 6000 feet.

NAM Snow totals Saturday 6 PM

Both sets of models have similar QPF values- total precip falling as water. (0.45-0.55 inches water.)

However,  the NAM and other high resolution models have sleet as the predominant PTYPE (pink) by 3 PM:

NAM 3 PM PTYPE   Sleet in pink, freezing rain red

The GFS doesn’t have the influx of warm air at and above 6000 feet, maintaining snow as the principal precipitation type (Purple) at 3PM:

GFS PTYPE 3 PM (shading) and critical 3 D thermal profiles  (lines)

It’s funny, in past years, I put heavy emphasis on the NAM model thermal profiles.

However, the new GFS (new last year) has outperformed the NAM for storm tracks this year.   We’re going to find out whether it’s better with thermal profiles.

I think the reality will be somewhere in the middle- an average of the GFS and NAM above.  I’ll be checking again later this evening.