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Friday April 18th 2014 7:55am MDT

Summary:

Dry Friday, then numerous showers on Saturday with fewer on Sunday. These showers will generally be snow above 10,000ft and rain below 10,000ft (snow could fall at lower elevations in the heavier showers). Monday will be dry, Tuesday will be dry, warm, and windy, then Wednesday will cool off with a few inches of snow likely. The end of next week should return to dry and warm weather.

Details:

Today, Friday, will be dry with increasing clouds as moisture builds ahead of our next storm.

colorado snow

The gray, blue, and green colors show moisture moving into Colorado from the southwest. The center of our next storm is currently swirling off the coast of southern California, and it will move across Colorado during Saturday and Saturday evening. Source: WeatherTap.com

Showers will start in the San Juans on Friday night, then move across all of Colorado on Saturday. This storm will not produce continuous precipitation, but rather convective showers, more like typical summer precipitation. The mountains will have a better chance of seeing precipitation compared to the valleys, and this precipitation will fall as snow above 10,000 feet with rain drops more likely below this level (heavier bursts of precipitation will drive the snow level down to 9,500ft or even 9,000ft).

The showers will let up Saturday night, but then reform on Sunday afternoon. Overall for the weekend, Sunday will be the nicer day with fewer showers compared to Saturday.

Most of the moisture will leave Colorado on Sunday night, so Monday should be dry and sunny. Tuesday will stay dry and warm up with very strong winds from the southwest developing by the afternoon. These winds could unfortunately blow in dust from Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Long Range:

A cold front will move through next Wednesday the 23rd and this will cool our temperatures but won't bring us much precipitation with perhaps just a few inches of snow for the mountains. After that, the next chance for precipitation could arrive the following weekend, April 26-27.

JOEL GRATZ

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I wrote two articles for yesterday's final email newsletter of the year:

Where will the snow fall next season: http://opsw.co/RuMpRL

Two pieces of gear that changed my skiing: http://opsw.co/1lfY8fz

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Thursday April 17th 2014 8:08am MDT

Summary:

Dry Thursday and Friday, with high elevation snow showers on Saturday (mostly above 10,000 ft). A few showers will pop up again on Sunday, then dry Monday and Tuesday with a strong cold front and some snow arriving next Wednesday the 23rd.

Details:

Yesterday's snow was mostly confined to the mountains and plains south of I-70 and east of the divide where 3-6 inches fell in the afternoon and evening.

As I look ahead to the next 7-10 days, it looks like a spring pattern with warm temperatures  and only a few chances for snow.

The next storm will move from southwest to northeast over Colorado on Friday night and Saturday. It will drag in plenty of moisture, but with weak storm energy we'll likely only see a few inches of snow on Saturday. Temperatures will be very warm with snow levels around 10,000ft, lowering to 9,000ft in the stronger precipitation cells.

colorado snow

Temperatures on Saturday at 10,000ft are forecasted to be around or just above freezing, which means the best chance for snow flakes versus rain drops will be above 10,000ft, with a few of the heavier cells pushing snow down to 9,000ft. Source: Twisterdata.com

Sunday should be an improvement over Saturday as I still expect a few afternoon showers, but they will be more scattered and random compared to Saturday.

Monday and Tuesday will be dry, and the big weather story on Tuesday will be the very strong winds from the southwest that might blow additional dust into Colorado from Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.

Then a strong cold front will move through on Wednesday with some snow, but it looks like the heaviest precipitation will stay to the north of Colorado.

Long Range:

The last seven days of April look like typical spring weather, with warming temperatures and one or two storms that could cool things off and bring a bit of snow for about 24 hours.

JOEL GRATZ

-----

CAIC is in fundraising mode right now to prepare for next season. Here are two ways to support them:

1) Vail Resorts will match up to $20,000 of your donations. More info & a link to donate: http://opsw.co/1t9S6CC

2) If you're in the Vail area, head to E-Town on Thursday night (4/17) for a fundraiser. More info here: http://opsw.co/Qd5nLL

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Wednesday April 16th 2014 8:17am MDT

Summary:

Light snow this morning, then the heavy snow on Wednesday night will miss most ski areas and fall south of I-70 and on the east side of the divide. Thursday and Friday will be dry, then rain and snow showers will cover Colorado Friday night through Sunday night with the heaviest precipitation falling on Saturday afternoon with a few inches of snow over 10,000 feet. Monday and Tuesday will be dry, then a powerful storm will bring wind, cooler air, and some snow from next Tuesday afternoon through Thursday.

Details:

Today's storm is coming in two parts.

The first part moved through between 3-7am on Wednesday morning with a few inches along and north of I-70 (1-2 inches accumulated after the 5am reports).

We'll see a break today, then the next piece of the storm will move through central and southern Colorado Wednesday evening. You can see the second piece of the storm as the blue/green colors zooming over northern Nevada and Utah on the satellite image below.

colorado snow

Wednesday morning's infrared satellite image. Source: Weathertap.com

Wednesday night's energy will focus most of it's moisture and lift east of the divide and south of I-70, so the most snow will fall in the eastern foothills of the Sangre de Cristos, the Wet Mountains, and near Pikes Peak. The foothills north of this area (up to I-70 and north) could see more clouds and a few flakes tonight, but snowfall shouldn't be significant.

colorado

Precipitation forecast from the high resolution NAM model for Wednesday and Wednesday night. To estimate snowfall, multiply by about 10-12. Source: Weatherbell.com

Thursday and Friday will be dry, then a weak and warm storm with a lot of moisture will move into Colorado from the southwest on Friday night and will stick around through Sunday night. During this time, snow levels will be high, around 10,000 feet, and precipitation will fall in bursts rather than continuously. The first burst might move through Friday night, a second one will likely develop with afternoon heating on Saturday afternoon, and a weaker burst of snow/rain might bring additional showers on Sunday. If I had to pick a weekend day with better weather, it would likely be Sunday as the afternoon showers shouldn't be as heavy as they will be on Saturday. 

Long Range:

The dominant storm system next week will roll through on Wednesday into Thursday. Ahead of the storm, Monday will be dry and Tuesday will be very windy with dust likely blowing in from the southwest. A cold front will move through on Wednesday-ish, which will drop temperatures and likely bring some snow to the mountains.

JOEL GRATZ

-----

CAIC is in fundraising mode right now to prepare for next season. Here are two ways to support them:

1) Vail Resorts will match up to $20,000 of your donations. More info & a link to donate: http://opsw.co/1t9S6CC

2) If you're in the Vail area, head to E-Town on Thursday night (4/17) for a fundraiser. More info here: http://opsw.co/Qd5nLL

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Tuesday April 15th 2014 7:57am MDT

Summary:

There will be two moderate storms with warm temperatures between now and the end of the weekend. The first will move through on Wednesday and Wednesday night with 2-4 inches (a bit more east of the divide) and another will bring a few inches on Saturday and Saturday night (another few inches). Sunday should be drier with just a few remaining showers.

Details:

Yesterday morning was a like a mid-winter powder day with cold temperatures and soft snow. Unfortunately, I think that might be the last cold powder day of the season. We will see additional snow of the next week or two, but the next few storms won't bring temperatures as cold as we saw yesterday.

Today, Tuesday, will be dry with increasing clouds and gusty winds this evening.

On Tuesday night, the first part of the next storm will cross the northern half of Colorado and a few inches of snow will likely fall by morning.

For Wednesday, this first part of the storm will cross the central mountains in the morning, then we might see a break in the snow and the clouds around midday. From Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday evening, a second part of the storm will move across central and southern Colorado with another few inches of accumulation, and perhps 4-6 inches for the areas east of the divide south of I-70. North of I-70, it's a tough call as the front range and nearby foothills might see a few inches, but I don't know if the heaviest precipitation will make it that far north.

colorado snow

Precipitation forecast from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning. Multiply by about 12 to estimate snowfall. Source: CAIC

By Thursday, the atmosphere will dry out and we'll see plenty of sun through Friday. There might be some powder to enjoy on Thursday morning, but right now I'm not expecting a significant powder day. Maybe the most fun will be a few inches of fresh snow over a groomer?

On Saturday, a storm will push into Colorado from the southwest. This storm will bring lots of moisture, weak energy, and warm temperatures. This means we'll see many showers on Saturday afternoon through Saturday night, and elevations over 10,000 feet should see a few inches of snow (maybe up to 6?). Lower elevations will likely see ra-n on Saturday and Saturday night (I can't say that word:-). Sunday could offer a few fresh turns in the morning, but the main story will be a return to drier weather with a low chance for a few afternoon showers.

Long Range:

The next chance for a storm will be during the middle or end of next week, around April 23-25th.

JOEL GRATZ

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Monday April 14th 2014 7:43am MDT

Summary:

Enjoy a beautiful first run this morning ... lots of fresh snow out there! Another storm will bring 2-4 or 3-6 inches of snow to the northern half of Colorado on Wednesday and Wednesday night, so Thursday morning might be another fun time to grab first chair. The weekend looks like a "tweener" with some sun and some some showers. Another more significant storm could hit Colorado on or around Wednesday April 23rd.

Details:

Patience was key on Sunday as most areas didn't see the heavy snow until midday (the front range was the exception as snow fell during the morning hours as well). Once the heavy snow arrived, it piled up quickly as this webcam from Loveland shows about 9 inches in 3 hours between 1pm and 4pm.

colorado snow

The Loveland snowstake webcam recorded 3"/hr for 3 hours. Aren't annimated gifs fantastic?! Source: Loveland cam and OpenSnow timelapse

Another 4-6 inches fell after the lifts closed on Sunday, so there will be lots of fresh lines to enjoy this morning. Go get some, and dress warm as temperatures on slope are about 10F.

After dry days on Monday and Tuesday, another storm will hit Colorado from Tuesday night through Thursday morning. This storm will take a similar path to yesterday's storm, but will be weaker. I'm forecasting about 3-6 inches for most mountains from Aspen north to I-70, and there might be higher amounts at the higher elevations along and east of the divide (sound familiar?) as there will be some upslope to this storm as well. Thursday morning could be a nice powder morning, then Thursday and Friday will be dry.

Long Range:

Next weekend isn't a sure bet. We'll be sandwiched between weak storms to our north and south, so expect some showers both Saturday and Sunday, but at this point I don't think the precipitation will be continuous or signifcant, and temperatures in the mountains be in the 40s to maybe 50. The next significant storm should arrive on or around Wednesday, April 23rd.

JOEL GRATZ

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