We're closely watching a big storm surging our way out of Colorado, bringing energy and moisture and a Canadian arm chipping in cold and wind. We look at many factors in figuring our forecasts starting with the track of the storm. Then we look at timing and the matching temperatures. That determines how much we get along with the speed of the storm and how long it lasts.
But all most people care about are snowfall totals. To decide on a forecast range for the incoming snow, our team blends at least seven different tools. You hear us on-air talk about the American and European models but there are several exclusive tools we rely on. Of course, these hardly ever agree and so our experience comes into play. One tool regularly overshoots. Early on Thursday, it gave Rapid City 50 inches of snow.
Let's target Spearfish. One tool kept the town barely above freezing bringing just a few flakes to the high Hills. The European model calls for roughly 16 inches and others bring 21 and 27. The majority of the seven leave a broad range but one to two feet certainly seems possible in parts of the Black Hills. This is both an early snowfall and a storm that could shatter records. The previous record for October snowfall in Spearfish is 11.5 inches, going back to 1906. That's before we even factor in the howling winds arriving tonight.
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