Beginning in the spring and summer of 2011, RIW began issuing a Recreational Forecast (REC) for Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). This product builds on REC for Mount Rainier National Park provided by the Seattle, Washington WFO. The REC product contains a brief discussion, a lightning threat forecast, a 24-hr cloud height forecast taken from the Terminal Aerodrome Forecast at the Jackson Hole airport, and three-day point forecast. The sites in this product range in elevation from the park headquarters in Moose, WY at 6460 ft. to the summit of Grand Teton at 13770 ft. The table of forecast values is also derived from the 2.5 km forecast database at RIW, although subjective and objective comparison indicates that the resolution of the forecast database is not fine enough for some weather elements to capture the true variation in weather around GTNP. Most of these sites do not have automated observation platforms with which to compare, so further collaboration will be needed to provide better forecasts for GTNP employees and visitors.
The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model has been utilized for several years to provide additional model guidance to RIW forecasters, primarily focusing on the complex terrain of Wyoming. The NMM core has been run at 4-km horizontal resolution twice per day using either the Global Forecast System or North American Mesoscale models for initial and boundary conditions. Starting in February 2012, the ARW core has been run at 4-km horizontal resolution twice per day to provide another option for high-resolution guidance. Forecasters at RIW have found the output particularly useful in adjusting the wind and temperature forecasts in western Wyoming that directly impact the guidance provided in the aforementioned forecasts. Subjective evaluation of the model output suggests that higher resolution nesting, perhaps down to 1- or 2-km resolution, might be required to better capture the critical weather variables around the steep and narrow terrain of western Wyoming.