Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Pueblo, CO

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FXUS65 KPUB 200535

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Pueblo CO
1035 PM MST Fri Jan 19 2018

.SHORT TERM...(This evening through Saturday)
Issued at 309 PM MST Fri Jan 19 2018

...Areas of High Fire Danger ahead of Approaching Storm...

There are some spots of critical fire weather conditions out there
this afternoon, primarily through the Arkansas River gap shooting
through Canon City out onto the plains.  An area of stronger winds
and, thus, higher fire danger is also occuring through the gap in
the Sangre De Cristos through La Veta Pass, spilling out onto the
plains toward Walsenburg.  But, such conditions have been fairly
localized today.  There will be more such areas tomorrow afternoon
but again fairly localized.  Relative humidities come up just a bit
keeping the overall threat down.  So, no fire weather highlights
needed.  However, this would still be a good day to avoid outdoor
burning or other activities that could accidentally start a wildfire.

Saturday afternoon, a deepening Pacific storm system will begin to
spread snow into the Colorado Continental Divide.  The center of the
storm will be shifting across southern Utah late in the day so the
San Juans will start picking up the snow first. However, not too
much accumulation is expected there through 5 PM...maybe up to
around 3 inches.  Farther north, the onset of most of the snow will
be a bit later, mainly after 5 PM.  So little accumulation expected
up that way through the day, mostly just some local amounts of less
than an inch.  The heavier snow and stronger winds arrive during the

.LONG TERM...(Saturday night through Friday)
Issued at 309 PM MST Fri Jan 19 2018

Models in good agreement through the extended period. Ensemble
spreads are also quite low through the extended, with higher
forecast confidence in the pattern evolution. The main differences
in the operational solutions are the minor details.

Saturday night through Sunday night...a strong winter storm system
is forecast to move across the region. The model consensus takes
the upper storm track across Utah, wrapping into a closed low
across southern Colorado, before ejecting northeast across Kansas.
There are two main concerns with this upper storm system, one
being snowfall across the region, the other being strong winds
across the Plains behind the cold front.

Expect periods of heavy snowfall over the San Juan and La Garita
ranges Saturday night through Sunday morning. Gusty winds will
produce areas of blowing snowfall. Snow accumulations of 7 to 10
inches with local amounts up to 20 inches are expected. Travel
will be challenging Sunday morning over area passes.

Periods of heavy snow will start by late Saturday night over the
Central Mountains, spreading east into the Eastern Mountains
through the morning hours on Sunday. Generally 5 to 10 inches are
expected with locally higher amounts possible.

A strong cold front is forecast to drop south across the Plains by
Sunday morning. Strong north winds gusting 45 to 55 mph are
expected behind the front. Snow will quickly spread across the
Palmer Divide by Sunday morning, and spread south and east through
Sunday afternoon and evening. There are several factors that may
cause issues on the Plains. Some model projections wrap the upper
level low up Sunday morning into the afternoon across the Plains,
with a heavier band of snow. This heavier band of snow looks to
stretch from the Raton Mesa, northeast to Kiowa County at this
time. Of course, storm dynamics will have to overcome strong
downsloping winds which tend to limit snowfall over portions of
the Plains. For now, expect the highest snow totals over the
Southern I-25 corridor and over the Palmer Divide with around 2 to
5 inches expected. Out over the Plains, most locations may end up
with 1 to 3 inches, especially where snow is able to overcome the
effects of the strong north winds. We will also have to monitor
storm track trends. A bit further south storm track would put more
favorable northeast wind and a higher potential for more
widespread heavier snowfall through the day on Sunday. Winds will
produce dangerous driving conditions on highways across the Plains
with low visibilities and drifting of snow. Those with high
profile vehicles will experience strong cross winds.

Models in good agreement with this being a fast moving storm
system. Expect snow and wind to decrease from west to east across
the region Sunday night, with dry conditions by Monday morning.

Monday through Friday...broad northwest flow aloft will prevail
Monday into Tuesday. This will bring dry conditions to much of
Southern Colorado, with a few light snow showers possible over the
Central Mountains. By Wednesday, a quick moving high pressure
system will move across the area with dry and warmer conditions.
The next upper level storm system will begin to approach the area
Thursday and Friday. Flow aloft will turn southwesterly and allow
for good mixing across the area. After highs in the 40s Monday
through Wednesday, mid to upper 50s are expected Thursday and
Friday. In addition, humidity values will lower and breezy
conditions could bring elevated fire weather concerns to the
Plains, however, fuels will have to be monitored for response to
expected snowfall.  Mozley


.AVIATION...(For the 06Z TAFS through 06Z Saturday night)
Issued at 1030 PM MST Fri Jan 19 2018

VFR conditions are expected the next 24 hrs at KCOS, KPUB and
KALS. KALS will likely see gusty southwest winds Sat afternoon,
with gusts of 20-25 kts, and clouds will increase in the evening
with ceilings lowering, but still remaining VFR.


Winter Storm Watch from late Saturday night through Sunday
afternoon for COZ084.

Winter Storm Watch from Saturday evening through Sunday
afternoon for COZ081-082.

Winter Storm Watch from Saturday evening through Sunday
afternoon for COZ058>061.

Winter Weather Advisory from 2 PM Saturday to 2 PM MST Sunday
for COZ066-068.



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