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Frigid temperatures and snow for the next week

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I had another 6” on my deck this morning, and it is snowing lightly. The tail end of the first part of the storm cycle is moving through our area, and snowfall will decrease by this evening after an additional 3-6” during the day. I was optimistic we would be getting near the upper range of my 14-28” forecast, but it appears we will be at the lower end. The mountain-top wind direction never really turned to the northwest for an extended period during the storm and snowfall rates were lighter than I originally anticipated.

A longwave trough extending through the western US and Canada will keep the bitterly cold temperatures in place for the next week. Periods of snow and reinforcing cold air surges will occur this entire period as energy moves down from the polar regions into this longwave trough.

One of these surges is currently timed for Friday but only very light snowfall is expected. Another series of waves moves over us this weekend continuing the cold and forcing higher snowfall rates. Even though there will not be a lot of moisture in this very cold air, snow densities of around 2-4% will create extremely light and fluffy snow leading to not insignficant accumulations.

A final trailing wave on Monday will likely bring the coldest temperatures of this arctic outbreak. Mountain slopes should begin warming by mid-week, though the valleys will remain locked in bone-chilling cold as inversions develop, strengthen and persist.

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