Where’s the snow? Meteorologist says northern mountains in for ‘near normal’ year | SkyHiNews.com

Where’s the snow? Meteorologist says northern mountains in for ‘near normal’ year

Tonya Bina
tbina@grandcountynews.com.
Grand County, Colorado

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

Walking down Granby, Colorado’s, Main Street on Wednesday, Will Arduino was one resident who couldn’t help but acknowledge the day’s outdoor apparel.

His amounted to a simple fleece vest ” just one day before Thanksgiving.

The sun shone brightly, the temperature was mild, nary a flake of snow in the valley.

Not typical for Grand County at the threshold of the holiday season.

In October of last year, the evergreens already carried a heavy load.

Where’s the snow?

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Meteorologist Kyle Fredin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder predicts normal precipitation for northwest Colorado in the upcoming winter ” in spite of what it looks like now.

December in the Colorado River Basin could easily mean a switch over to hats, gloves and Uggs.

“There is a neutral, weakening La Nina, not necessarily going into El Nino,” Fredin said about the sea surface temperatures near the equator on the Pacific ocean. What’s happening there generally has an effect on Colorado.

As a rule of thumb, “El Nino” gives more precipitation in the southern Colorado mountains and locations east of the Continental Divide.

“Nina” brings more precipitation in Colorado’s northern and central mountain on west-facing slopes west of the Continental Divide.

Right now, weather is La Nina-ish to neutral, according to Fredin.

In Nina-type weather, people can expect small but frequent storms, he said.

“A shot of snow” is predicted for this weekend, followed by another “shot” mid-week, and precipitation should pick up by December.

Although winter temperatures look near normal until spring, above normal temperatures are expected in March, April, and into May, he said.

Throughout the entire season, precipitation in Middle Park tracks at normal, according to NOAA data.

That means, “not bone dry or not excessive snow,” Fredin said.

“It’s not going to be a deal-killer for winter sports at all,” he said. “I think the state’s still on track. We’re going to get plenty of snow.”

For a longer-term trend, “We may head into an El Nino next winter,” Fredin speculated.

And as resent weather patterns fall behind normal averages. Water content of snow measured in the last two months track about 65 percent of what’s normal in the Winter Park area. Wolf Creek is at 54 percent and Vail Mountain is at 79 percent.

“I wouldn’t worry until the first portion of January,” Fredin said.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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