Forecasting an Unusual Weather Event in Colorado: 15 October 1980

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On 15 October 1980, a weather system that had been to the west of Colorado was forecast to move into the state, and to bring with it light to moderate snow in the Rockies, and generally light rain and thundershower activity over the plains to the east. In most regions this forecast was adequate. However, substantially heavier activity (including a small tornado, large hail, heavy rain, and snow) also occurred in some areas. In this paper we show how all relevant real-time data, when properly merged, could have enabled formulation of a useful short-term forecast. In addition we point out how mesonet surface data gathered after the fact could have helped narrow down the forecast area of severe weather and heavy precipitation.

1 Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch Development Laboratory, NOAA/NESS, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo. 80523.

2 Office of Weather Research and Modification, Environmental Research Laboratories, NOAA, Boulder, Colo. 80303.

On 15 October 1980, a weather system that had been to the west of Colorado was forecast to move into the state, and to bring with it light to moderate snow in the Rockies, and generally light rain and thundershower activity over the plains to the east. In most regions this forecast was adequate. However, substantially heavier activity (including a small tornado, large hail, heavy rain, and snow) also occurred in some areas. In this paper we show how all relevant real-time data, when properly merged, could have enabled formulation of a useful short-term forecast. In addition we point out how mesonet surface data gathered after the fact could have helped narrow down the forecast area of severe weather and heavy precipitation.

1 Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch Development Laboratory, NOAA/NESS, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo. 80523.

2 Office of Weather Research and Modification, Environmental Research Laboratories, NOAA, Boulder, Colo. 80303.

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