The Colorado Daily Snow

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Saturday October 25th 2014 6:30am

Summary:

Sunny and dry on Saturday, more clouds and breezy on Sunday, a few inches of snow for northern Colorado on Sunday night, then dry and cooler on Monday and Tuesday with warmer weather for later next week.

Details:

Saturday will be much like Friday with sunny skies and temperatures 10-20 degrees above normal. 

On Sunday there will be a few more clouds and the wind will kick up in the afternoon, especially for areas along and north of I-70. This is in advance of a cold front that will push through on Sunday night.

The storm on Sunday night into Monday morning will be weak and moisture-starved, so the best we can hope for is a few inches of snow along a heavier band for areas around Aspen and north to I-70 and Steamboat. The snow level will start around 11,000ft before the band and then lower to 7,000-8,000ft on the tail end of the event.

Monday and Tuesday will be much cooler than the weekend, so snowmaking teams will be able to crank the guns. This cooler air is really just a return to average temperatures for late October.

Temperatures will then warm back to about 10 degrees above average by the middle and end of next week, though it'll still be cool enough overnight for some snowmaking to continue.

Our next chance for a storm will be around November 3-5, but at this point it looks more like a marginal event rather than the big kahuna.

Putting all of this together into one chart, the image below shows the American GFS model's temperature forecast compared to average for Copper Mountain (a good representation of northern Colorado).

The thick horizontal black line in the middle shows average temperatures, with temperatures above that line being above average. You can see Saturday and Sunday's above average temperatures, a return to average or just below on Monday and Tuesday, then a warm up through early November until our next chance for a storm cools things off around November 3-6. The thin black line is the model's best guess while the bars show other possibilities. The further out in time (toward the right), the wider the range of possibilities.

colorado snow weather forecast report

American GFS weather model temperature forecast compared to average. Source: Weatherbell.com

 

Have a great Saturday folks ... yesterday's comments revealed a lot of folks who shared my Pennsylvania roots which was fun to see!

JOEL GRATZ

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Friday October 24th 2014 6:46am

Summary:

Sunny and dry Friday and Saturday. A few showers on Sunday afternoon, then a few inches of snow Sunday night into Monday for northern and central Colorado. The middle and end of next week should be dry.

Details:

Enjoy the sun today and Saturday! There will be a few high altitude wave clouds on Friday morning which should make for an amazing sunrise near the front range and continental divide.

The next storm will affect Colorado on Sunday evening through Monday though don't get your hopes up because it doesn't look like a significant snow producer. Expect more clouds on Sunday afternoon with a random shower here or there, then likely a line of rain and snow will move through areas near Aspen and north to I-70 and Steamboat on Sunday night into early Monday morning. Most models are forecasting about 0.1-0.3 inches of liquid equivalent precipitation, which would translate into about 1-3 or 2-4 inches of snow on Sunday night into Monday. The snow level will start around 11,000ft on Sunday night and then drop to 7,000-8,000ft by Monday morning so there will likely be accumulations on the higher passes and down into the higher valleys.

colorado weather snow forecast ski report

Forecast from the Canadian GEM model. Source: Weatherbell.com

 

Monday will likely be a cloudy and cool day across the northern half of Colorado with leftover snow showers. Tuesday will warm up a bit with more sun but temperatures will still be chilly, or around normal. The end of next week, Wednesday through Saturday, should warm much more and the weather will be dry. In the long range, we might see something around the first week of November, perhaps the 3-5th.

For snowmaking, conditions will be good on Monday and Monday night, marginal on Tuesday, and likely good again on Tuesday night. After that temperatures again look marginal with overnight lows hovering around freezing.

This forecast is a bit of a bummer since there is no significant storm on tap for at least the next 7 days. But hopefully you're finding a way to enjoy the nice fall weather, and I'm having a bit of fun back on the east coast at Penn State this weekend. Any Pennsylvania folks reading this? I started skiing at Shawnee Mountain in 1985 at the age of 4:-)

JOEL GRATZ

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Thursday October 23rd 2014 5:23am

Summary:

Thursday through Saturday will be warm and sunny. Our next storm should bring snow to the mountains on Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon with about 3-6 inches for the northern half of the state.

Details:

The snow that fell on Tuesday night (2-4 inches for central and northern mountains) mostly melted on Wednesday except for higher elevation and northern aspects. I'm not sure the snow will last, though, as Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be sunny with temperatures at 11,000ft into the upper 40s during the day and barely dropping to freezing at night.

The next storm for Sunday and Monday should bring some snow and cooler air to the mountains.. Right now it looks like 3-6 inches is a good bet near and north of Aspen up to I-70 and Steamboat, with snow starting on Sunday afternoon / evening and snow showers continuing through Monday. 

colorado ski snow report forecast

Liquid equivalent accumulation forecast from the American GFS weather model for Sunday night through Monday night. Source: Twistedata.com
 

Temperatures will cool quite a bit with snow levels starting around 11,000ft at the beginning of the storm on Sunday, but dropping to 8,000ft or below by Monday. The best news is that the drop in temperatures should help snowmaking folks turn the guns on for most of Monday and continuing into Tuesday. And even though temperatures will warm a bit later next week, the snowmakers should be able to blow snow at night.

Beyond late next week (the end of October), I'm not sure how early November will play out. Many of the models indicate a stormy area over the western US, but it's too soon to know if this will affect Colorado or will stay further west along the coast.

JOEL GRATZ

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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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