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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

-----

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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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Sunday April 13th 2014 4:34pm MDT

Quick Sunday afternoon update at 430pm ...

The heavy snow started in the mountains late Sunday morning into midday and it came down hard for a few hours with 2-3 inch-per-hour rates in some spots. It looks like many areas have a solid 6 inches, with Loveland up to 10 inches.

Snow will continue through late Sunday evening and most mountains should see another 2-4 inches with up to 6 inches after lifts close on Sunday, so Monday morning should be mighty fine. Enjoy!

JOEL GRATZ

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Sunday April 13th 2014 7:37am MDT

Summary:

Snow falls today, Sunday, and most mountains will see 6-10 inches with 12+ inches east of the divide (see details below). A few inches of snow will fall after lifts close on Sunday, so check to see if your mountain is open on Monday morning because first tracks should be soft and fun. Another storm will bring snow on Wednesday into Thursday with perhaps 3-6 inches for most mountains and 5-8 inches along and east of the divide. Then Friday through the weekend should be dry with just a few showers around. Another storm is possible around Wednesday April 23rd (ish).

Details:

One band of showers moved through before dawn on Sunday morning and this dropped 1-3 inches across northern Colorado. 

Now, as of 7am Sunday morning, snow is filling in east of the divide, while mountains west of the divide need to be patient as snow will not become heavy until later this morning. On the radar image below, you can see the precipitation developing east of the divide. Also, there is a strong band of snow oriented from north-to-south that is over the Utah/Colorado border and moving east. This will hit the mountains west of the divide later this morning and snow will continue after this band moves through.

colorado snow

Radar over Colorado and Utah as of 7am Sunday morning. Eastern Colorado is already seeing rain and snow while western Colorado will see snow intensify later this morning as the band over the UT/CO border pushes east. Source: Weathertap.com

My forecast for each mountain is here http://opsw.co/CO1-5, and it generally shows 6-10 inches west of the divide, about 10 inches along the divide, and 12+ inches in the foothills east of the divide. The plains around Denver should see 3-6 inches with higher mountains against the foothills and on the Palmer Divide between Denver and Colorado Springs, and lower accumulations further east.

You'll likely find the best powder during the last few hours of the day on Sunday, and on first run Monday morning as a few inches of snow will fall after the lifts close on Sunday through about midnight Sunday night. A few ski areas are closing today (Aspen Highlands, Eldora, etc), so double check that lifts will be turning before you head up on Monday morning:-) And if you do head out Monday morning, dress warm as temperatures will be cold at dawn (5-15 degrees) but will then warm up through the day into the 20s.

Like Monday, Tuesday will be dry, then another storm will move through on Wednesday into Thursday morning. I still have little confidence in the details of the storm, but most of the northern half of Colorado could see 3-6 inches, with 5-8 inches along and east of the divide. The storm could come in stronger than this, but I want to keep expectations in check for now. Thursday morning might be another fine late-season powder day, so stay tuned for more updates.

Long Range:

Once the storms moves out on Thursday, Friday through the weekend should be dry but I can't rule out a few showers on Saturday and Sunday as a storm to our north and south might throw in enough moisture to cause some drops or flakes to fall from the sky. Then after additional dry days on Monday and Tuesday, there could be a storm around Wednesday, April 23rd.

JOEL GRATZ

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