The potential storm on Sunday morning is going to track too far to the west to bring much or any snow to Colorado. Bummer. The next chance for snow will be on Thursday, December 21st. After that, I have no idea what will happen. The pattern in late December and early January is still projected to be snowier than our current pattern.
Hitting the slopes for the holidays?
Steep mountain prices and narrow selections will have you wondering why you didn't stock up on wine, beer, and spirits before you hit I-70. Molly's Spirits is 4 minutes off I-70 & Sheridan and is a great first stop on your mountain adventures. Check out holiday specials worth stopping for here: http://opsw.co/2jtQ5Ub
Short Term Forecast
It was nice to see fresh snow on Thursday morning and I hope you were able to make a few turns. Temperatures on Thursday and Thursday night generally stayed in the teens, and this is good because it allows snowmaking to continue. More snowmaking won't allow the biggest mountains to open all of their terrain (mountains are simply too large to be fully covered by machine-made snow), but snowmaking does help to open some terrain, which is a good thing in our drier weather pattern.
The weather on Friday and Saturday will be dry with temperatures cooling a bit on Saturday afternoon.
Then, on Saturday night into Sunday morning, we were looking for a storm to bring perhaps a coating to 2 inches to most mountains. Well, I have not so great news. That storm is going to track a bit too far to the west to bring snow to Colorado.
Here is the American GFS forecast model. You can see the snow coming from the upper-left of the image, and then it appears there is a forcefield around Colorado as the snow stays west, and then redevelops to the south (if you're reading this on our mobile app and cannot see the animated gif, click here: http://opsw.co/2CwSncL).
This is a real-life example of one of my favorite XKCD comics:
We were lucky with the storm on Wednesday night, which tracked further west than initially expected and brought snow to Colorado when earlier forecasts showed no snow. And now the storm on Saturday night will also track further west than initially expected and will not bring much or any snow to Colorado when earlier forecasts showed some snow. Things usually balance out, eventually.
On Saturday night, there is a chance for light accumulations east of the divide and in the southern mountains, and, just maybe the storm will change track again and all mountains will get flakes after all. It's a very small chance, but still a chance.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday should be dry, then the next system should bring snow on Thursday, December 21st. This could be anywhere from a weak to a moderately strong storm with accumulations from 1-8 inches. Stay tuned as I hope we'll get lucky with this one and potentially nab another low-end Thursday powder day.
After next Thursday, I do not know what will happen. It's possible that a storm could stall to our southwest and push some snow into southwestern Colorado, though the chances of this are lower than yesterday as the newest models drop that storm further south which wold keep Colorado dry. Ugh.
The longer-range models continue to insist that things will become more active during the last 5 days of December and early January, but I've been writing that "things will become more active in late December" for a while and the models keep pushing back on when this action might head our way.
Yes, there is still a chance that, during the last five days of December, a storm from the southwest, a storm from the north, or perhaps a merging of the two could bring significant snow to Colorado. But this is somewhat of a fantasy at this point as we're still 10+ days away from this possibility and the dry-ish pattern over the western US is still hanging around. Hope for the best but keep your expectations in check, which means that you should plan that most mountains will open a bit more but not a lot more terrain in the next 5-10 days, and then maybe we'll get lucky with more natural snow at the end of the month.
Lastly, I want to take a moment to recognize a great businesses that I've worked with for years. If you own a Subaru in the northern front range (I just described half of Colorado:-), go see Kyle at Subadude in Ft. Collins (http://www.subadude.com/). He is a one-man repair and maintenance shop and will do great work on your car at a super-reasonable price and will often tell you that you do NOT need extra work, which is the opposite of what many repair shops will say. I trust Kyle so much that I drive from Boulder to Ft. Collins to have him work on my car when I need larger maintenance projects completed. Yes, this is a blog about snow, but your car is a big part of getting you to the snow, so I wanted to mention this. Thanks for listening.
Chat with you again on Saturday morning...thanks for reading!
10-Year Anniversary Party!
Monday, December 18th at West Flanders in Boulder, CO at 700pm
* I wrote my first snow forecast email titled "Colorado Powder Forecast" on December 18, 2007.
* Ten years (and lots of powder days) later, let's party.
* I will give a short talk to start the night off.
* Wear your Colorado Powder Forecast t-shirt and I'll buy your drinks:-)
* Happy hour prices all night
* Details and RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/836050909911243/
Colorado Forecast Page:
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Along the Divide
Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass
East of the Divide
Eldora, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass
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