Monday, December 31, 2018

Quick Look At Our New Year's Storm

Photo above from south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, where moderate snow has already been reported this morning.

The 500 mb analysis from NCAR (below) shows that the strong, short wave is over the Great Basin, oriented from west-southwest to east-northeast. The closed low part of the system will move across northern Arizona tonight and tomorrow, while southern portion of wave swings across southern Arizona. Note that core of system is very cold, with temperatures around - 36 C.

This is another storm with limited moisture, as per 06 UTC GEFS plumes for PW at TUS above. Models forecast a much deeper intrusion of moisture from low latitudes next weekend. The plumes for QPF at Tucson (below) average just less than half an inch. The 06 UTC WRF-GFS forecasts an amount of 0.70", while this morning's 12 UTC WRF-RR forecasts only 0.20". Snow accumulations will occur very close to our east and southeast, still with some chances of a few flakes mixed in over parts of the metro area.

The WRF forecasts continue to indicate strong winds of 20 to 30 mph ahead of the cold front this afternoon and evening. Data from Mt. Hopkins are now available - the RAWS site there had maximum gusts of 56 mph at 2:00 am MST yesterday morning.

Looking forward to a new year!

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