Feb. 21st Mountain Wx Forecast

The Weekend Weather Forecast for the High Country of Rocky Mountain National Park
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The Boulderfield and North Face of Longs Peak after a new dusting of snow.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Rocky Mountain National Park Weather Forecast

Researched and written by professional meteorologist and avid mountaineer, Dan The Weather Man Gottas.

Week in Review

Three storm systems tracked across RMNP over the past week. The first two were accompanied by orographically enhanced snows under northwesterly flow, while the third was mostly associated with weak easterly-upslope enhanced snow well north of the main storm circulation.

Snowfall totals over the week fell well shy of model forecast guidance by a factor of 2 to 3 in RMNP. This was particularly noteworthy given the historically favorable snow-producing track of the first two systems.

A meager moisture structure and flux associated with a drier continental air mass was mostly to blame. The upstream Park and Medicine Bow Ranges made the most of the boney moisture feast, with only scraps left over and passed downstream for the mountains of RMNP to chew on.


RMNP received some moisture in the last week, but far from enough to make-up for the current deficit.


More storm energy is forecast to track across the Park from the northwest during the 2/22-27 period. A greater amount of moisture than last week is advertised to accompany these systems, as airmass trajectories are forecast to originate within a deeper layer of atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean.
Model generated precipitation forecasts currently indicate upwards of 0.75-1.25" of SWE over the period, with the lower (higher) end of the precip range indicated over the eastern (western) mountain ranges of northern CO.
Healthy and chilly west through northwesterly winds can be expected during most of the week, with periodically strong mountain-wave enhanced wind gusts east of the Divide. These winds combined with the new snow will produce the deepest snow deposits in the 1.5k zone below treeline and in protected lee- and cross-loaded terrain features above treeline. New wind and storm slab should be anticipated, and bonding with the old snow may be suspect given the colder temperatures at which the new snow is forecast to fall.
ladyback 1 Eli climbing on the south face of Mt. Lady Washington in a winter storm.


Detailed 7-Day Forecast

NWS Forecast for the 12,000 foot level near Longs Peak

The link above will take you to the National Weather Service forecast for the 12,000 foot level near Longs Peak. These forecasts are derived from computer-generated numerical forecasts, and are updated shortly after 3:30 am, 9:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 9:30 pm local time. In the lower right-hand corner of the page, one can view forecasts for other locations in the Park by clicking on the desired location in the terrain map.



Do-It-Yourself Weather Forecast Links

Weather Observations and Forecasts

The link above provides a list of web links to various sites containing a variety of meteorological data and information. Collectively, these resources can be used to monitor and study current weather conditions, as well short-term, medium-range, and climate forecasts.


© ClimbingLife LLC, 2013  All Rights Reserved.


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