Saturday, March 21, 2020

Back from the Road

It's been a long couple of days as I drove down to Tempe to extract my daughter from Arizona State.  Snow in Flagstaff required me to go through Vegas on the way down, which turned out to be fairly nice as the low desert is pretty green right now.  Returning we were able to drive through Flagstaff and it's really cool to start in saguaro forest and get to snow on the Mogollon Rim.  Sorry I didn't take any photos, but we didn't stop except when absolutely necessary, typically at the loneliest, most expensive gas stations we could find. 

I've been looking at the forecasts and they are difficult to summarize succinctly.  Overall, I would describe the pattern for the next several days as typical of spring, which means changeable and showery, with the potential for cooler weather later in the week.  A warmer trough (valley rain, mountain snow) will pass Sunday night and Monday, followed by a deeper trough with cooler air that will dig over the western U.S. and move through slowly later in the week.

Mountain snow is likely at times next week, but timing and intensity is difficult to nail down at this time.  The most probable time for mountain snow will probably be somewhere in the Tuesday-Wednesday time frame when many of the ensemble members bring the cold front in advance of the deeper trough though northern Utah.  This is when snowfall increases the most in the NAEFS plumes. 

This suggests Wednesday or Thursday might be this week's sweet spot for skiing, although much will depend on how things play out.  Regardless, I'm starting to see recommendations from search and rescue groups in other states (e.g., Colorado) asking people to dial back the risks.  Here's an example from Colorado public radio.  The challenges facing our first responders and medical communities are growing rapidly now.  Consider this in making your recreation choices.

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