Snow came as predicted last night with a cold upper trough and associated surface low pressure system that dug southeastward across the region. Temperatures have been very cold, with snow levels down to 3,000’ MSL, and temperatures only rising into the mid 30s today. Snow amounts were 2-4” across the Prescott area, and less than previously forecast due to a lack of moisture in this area, which has also led to a greater amount of sunshine to help melt the snow. According to an assessment by our newest meteorology faculty member, Dr. Mike Kaplan, there was a narrow moisture plume with this storm that extended from near Yuma north-northeastward to the Mogollon Rim near Payson, and snow amounts were therefore much greater to our east than here in Prescott. Having a greater density of weather observations upwind from and in the vicinity of a storm can really help to improve forecast detail and accuracy in cases like this one.
Expect partly cloudy skies and unusually cool temperatures tonight through Wednesday before the next storm system approaches the area. Forecasts have consistently indicated that Wednesday night through Friday morning will bring an even larger storm that will become positioned a bit more to the West Coast of Arizona as it digs southward, helping it tap into greater amounts of moist air off the Pacific. The next storm will likely be the heaviest snow event so far this winter, though there is still some uncertainty in the forecasts. Expect increasing clouds and breezes on Wednesday afternoon and evening with an increasing chance of snow showers. The greatest chance of snow will be Thursday morning through Friday morning before diminishing on Friday afternoon. Expect 8-12” snow totals across the area, with possibly higher amounts possible in some higher elevation or wind-favored locations around town. Updates will be emailed as needed.
After Friday, expect only partly cloudy skies and a gradual warming trend.
Met Mail is an unofficial weather discussion and forecast transmitted once or twice a week via e-mail by the Embry-Riddle Department of Meteorology (http://meteo.pr.erau.edu/). Embry-Riddle offers an undergraduate bachelor-of-science degree program in Applied Meteorology. Please spread the word to all potential qualified candidates!
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Official National Weather Service forecast