The Colorado Daily Snow

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Tuesday October 21st 2014 10:22pm

Summary:

A few inches of snow fell on Tuesday night for elevations over 10,000ft. Wednesday through Saturday should be dry, then our next chance of snow will extend from Sunday into Monday 10/27.

Details:

I'm on the east coast until next Monday (visits to NYC and Penn State), so I'll be updating at night sometimes.

Clouds increased across the state on Tuesday afternoon with a few showers here and there. As of 10pm Tuesday night the freezing level is about 11,000ft. A line of intense showers is pushing through western Colorado and should hit the mountains near and north of Aspen overnight with snow levels dropping to 10,000ft and likely a bit lower. Expect 1-3 inches over the higher peaks of the northern half of Colorado by Wednesday morning.

Wednesday should be a generally dry day with lingering clouds for northern Colorado and perhaps a midday shower for a few spots.

Then on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the atmosphere will be dry and the sun will shine brilliantly.

Our next storm will arrive on Sunday and last into Monday. Like I've been saying for the last few posts, I don't have much confidence in the track of this storm, though the models are converging on a forecast for cool air and a few inches of snow for central and northern Colorado. The "dip" in the cooler colors near Colorado signifies the storm on Sunday night.

colorado snow forecast
Source: Meteocentre
 

Even though Sunday night's storm does not look like it will bring a lot of snow, it should drop temperatures and Monday / Monday night should allow many resorts to crank the snow guns.

The end of next week or the first weekend in November should be active with at least one more storm. Stay tuned for details.

JOEL GRATZ

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Monday October 20th 2014 9:45pm

Summary:

High elevation snow on Tuesday night, then a chance for some snow next Monday-ish. Otherwise still warm-ish temperatures with no prolonged period of cold/snow in sight.

Details:

I'm on the east coast for about one week (visits to NYC and Penn State), so I'll be updating at night sometimes.

On Monday there were a few afternoon showers but like the last few days, nothing widespread or signifcant. The webcam at Copper shows decent coverage up top but I'm sure they would like a few more chilly nights for better snowmaking.

colorado ski snow report forecast

For Tuesday and Wednesday, look for clouds to increase on Tuesday afternoon with the heaviest showers falling between about sunset Tuesday and sunrise Wednesday. Snow levels will be high and the best accumulations will be above 11,000 feet. During the heaviest showers snow flakes may fall down to 10,000 feet with a bit of accumulation. A few showers will pop up on Wednesday on the back side of the storm but Wednesday will be a dry day for most mountains.

On Thursday through Sunday look for dry skies with mostly sunny weather at least through Saturday and perhaps Sunday as well.

A new storm will move close to Colorado on Sunday night through Monday but I still have low confidence about how much snow this event will bring to Colorado. I'd say there's a better than 50% chance that this storm will NOT be a big snow producer, but I'll hold out some hope that the outcome will beat the odds.

I see the models continuing to hint that we could see another storm during the last few days of October / first few days of November. Stay tuned for more details about that, but in general, I don't see a continuous stretch of cooler and snowier weather in the near future.

JOEL GRATZ

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Monday October 20th 2014 8:46am

Summary:

Few showers on Monday, more showers Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning (snow level 10,000-11,000ft), then dry Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Next chance of a storm will be sometime between Sunday afternoon and next Tuesday.

Details:

Sunday worked out about as expected with a few afternoon and evening showers.

Today, Monday, will be about the same with afternoon showers for areas along and south of I-70. Overall, not a big deal, but also not a perfectly sunny day.

For Tuesday, a weak storm will push through Colorado during the evening, so look for an increase in showers Tuesday afternoon and especially Tuesday night. Clouds might linger on Wednesday morning and midday for areas near and north of Aspen, though there won't be much precipitation on Wednesday. Snow levels during the Tuesday night storm will be pretty high, between about 10,000-11,000ft, though a few flakes could make their way down below 10,000ft during the heavier showers. There could be 2-5 inches of snow above 11,000ft by Wednesday morning, but tough to tell exactly where the heaviest showers will fall so I can't be very geographically specific with this event.

Then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be dry and sunny. More gorgeous autumn weather. 

For snowmaking, the best time should be Wednesday night with lower humidity and cooler temperatures. The nights before and after Wednesday will be marginal.

Looking ahead to next Sunday through Tuesday, most of the models show some type of system moving through, and this is consistent with what the models have been hinting at since mid month (a stormier period during the latter days of October).

As frequent readers may remember, model forecasts for 5-7 days into the future can usually help us figure out if there will be a storm, but these forecasts often cannot nail down the details of the storm. Such is the case for next Sunday/Monday/Tuesday. The often more accurate and consistent European model is all over the place with this system, which signals to me that it might be a tough forecast that won't come together until a few days out.

For example, here are 50 different precipitation forecasts for next Sunday night from the European model. The group that runs the model tweaks a few parts of the model (for example, the initial weather conditions fed into the model) and the result is 50 slightly different forecasts. If most of these forecasts are similar to one another, then there is high confidence in the forecast.

However, for the Sunday night storm, of the 50 different forecasts below, only about 15-20 show significant precipitation for Colorado while others show a slower storm (precipitation further west) or no storm at all. If the European model is only 30-40% confident of precipitation in the 5 day forecast, I'm going to wait to figure this storm out until there is more consistency.

colorado snow ski report forecast

colorado snow ski report forecast

Since the 5-day forecast is this uncertain, I don't think there's much we can figure out beyond that. Most models, including the European, hint at the chance for at least one more storm during the last week of October, but we likely won't be able to know the details until 3-4 days from now.

JOEL GRATZ

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Sunday October 19th 2014 7:08am

Summary:

Afternoon showers for southern Colorado on Sunday and Monday. A more potent storm will bring rain and snow over 10,000ft to most mountains from midday Tuesday through midday Wednesday. Then we're back to dry weather until the last few days of October.

Details:

Sunday and Monday will be similar to Saturday ... look for increasing afternoon clouds with showers. The best chance of a rain drop or snow flake will be in the southern 1/3rd of the state roughly south of Crested Butte, but a few showers could push further north to I-70.

From Tuesday midday through Wednesday afternoon a more organized storm will push through Colorado. We'll have plenty of moisture to work with, so this energy will create rain and snow showers for most mountains between midday Tuesday and Wednesday midday or afternoon. The most widespread showers will likely occur Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday evening, with northwest flow bringing continued showers to the mountains near and north of Aspen on Wednesday. Snow accumulations should stay above 10,000-11,000ft, though snowflakes could fall down to 9,000-10,000ft near and north of Aspen during the heaviest showers. 

Next Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will then be dry. 

In terms of snowmaking, temperatures will be marginal the next few days, conditions will improve on Wednesday into Thursday morning, then we'll return to marginal temperatures next weekend.

Most of the action during the end of next week and the last weekend of October will be in the Pacific Northwest, and the rest of the county will be on the drier side. 

colorado weather snow forecast report

Then as we've talked about, the last few days of the month could be more active. I do not see indications that we'll switch to very cold air or continuous snowfall, but at least we could see a bit more action near Halloween with temperatures more conducive to snowmaking.

colorado snow weather ski report forecast

Have a great Sunday!

JOEL GRATZ

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Saturday October 18th 2014 7:42am

Summary:

Afternoon showers on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Most mountains will see rain/snow on Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday, then we return to dry weather through next weekend.

Details:

The picture below shows that quite a few people turned out for Abasin's opening day yesterday!

arapahoe basin

I also heard from a reader that was curious about the amount of snow that Abasin and Loveland would each have to make in order to open. This reader did some quick work on Google Earth and found that the number of acres of snow to cover the first trail was about twice as many acres at Loveland as compared to Abasin. So this might partially explain why Abasin was able to open more quickly.

Back to weather...

Today, Sunday, and Monday, look for a few afternoon showers south of I-70, with most of the showers confined to the San Jan and Sangre de Cristo mountains of southern Colorado.

Then a weak and warm storm will move across Colorado on Tuesday into Wednesday, so look for rain and snow over 10,000 feet from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday evening. It won't rain during that entire time, but it will be mostly cloudy.

Next Thursday, Friday, and through next weekend will be dry as the storminess stays to our north and west over Washington and British Columbia.

Like a broken record, the models still indicate some storminess moving closer to Colorado during the last few days of October, so I'll keep an eye on it.

JOEL GRATZ

 

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