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The Colorado Daily Snow

Snow & Powder Forecasts for Colorado

Powder day … and snow continues

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Summary

Snow fell on Monday afternoon and Monday evening, so there will be fresh turns for most mountains on Tuesday. Snow showers should continue through the day on Tuesday, and then may continue on Tuesday night for areas favored by northwest flow. Wednesday could be another powder day for some areas, but I still have low confidence in the details. Clouds and showers will hang around the northern mountains on Thursday, and then Friday will be the beginning of our 7-10 day dry period, which could end with the next storm around February 5th.

Get to Jackson Hole where your inner wild is calling!

With this latest round of storms, dubbed Stormageddon, Jackson Hole has already hit over 310 fluffy, powdery inches of snowfall for the season, with lots more on the way! The powder riding is deep and it just keeps getting deeper. Visit Jackson Hole: http://opsw.co/2jlqjzX

Short Term Forecast

Tuesday was an active day with strong winds at highest elevations of the southern half of the state (gusts over 100mph) and periods of heavy snowfall. Here are the highest 24-hour totals from Monday morning to Tuesday morning.

  • Loveland - 9”
  • Abasin - 9
  • Monarch - 9”
  • Aspen Highlands - 9”
  • Beaver Creek - 8”
  • Purgatory - 8”
  • Telluride - 7
  • Aspen Mountain - 7”
  • Buttermilk - 7”
  • Snowmass - 7”
  • Crested Butte - 6”

The combination of heavy snow and strong winds forced CDOT to close the major passes in southern Colorado (Wolf Creek Pass, Coal Bank Pass, Molas Pass, Red Mountain Pass) as well as Loveland Pass. Check with CDOT before heading out as they are working hard on avalanche mitigation and clean up and some roads may be closed for a while.

From a ski-quality perspective, this marks the 5th straight day that most mountains are reporting fresh snow. Consistent snowfall is the key to creating conditions that can feel bottomless. You don’t need massive 24-hour snow reports in a cycle like this to produce great conditions … just consistent snow.

The radar on Tuesday morning shows snow showers moving into western Colorado as the center of the storm spins to our north.

The radar may not look exciting, but it does show the beginning of the next phase of the storm as moisture continues to flow into Colorado from the west-northwest and eventually northwest. I think most mountains will see another 3-5 inches today with off-and-on showers, with the heaviest snow initially in the southern mountains. Here is the high-resolution CAIC WRF snow forecast for Tuesday.

And the forecasts for Tuesday night and Wednesday:

This forecast may not look amazing (just a few inches during each 12-hour period), but there may be a treasure hidden in this weather pattern.

Often, when storms strengthen to our east, and produce a moist northwest flow with cooling temperatures, a few mountains can see higher-than-expected snow totals. These mountains are often Steamboat, Vail, Telluride, Silverton, and Irwin, but other locations can get in on the action as well. In this situation, I would NOT increase the forecast for these areas to 12+ inches because I don’t have that much confidence in the forecast, but I will mention the possibility of an upside surprise, so keep your eye on the snow-stake cameras.

One thing about this storm, compared to past storms that produced upside surprises, is that this storm is a few degrees cooler, which may limit the amount of moisture and not produce a surprise. We’ll see.

The northwest flow should keep clouds and snow showers over the northern mountains through Thursday, and then Friday will be dry and sunny for all areas.

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Extended Forecast

The dry weather should continue through at least Friday, February 3, and then there should be some type of storm moving into the western US around February 5th, plus or minus one day. In the next day or two, after the current storm moves away, I’ll spend more time discussing the extended forecast for early February.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the snow!

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Along the Divide
Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains

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