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Sunday October 26th 2014 7:09pm

As of 7pm the band of showers is just moving into northwestern Colorado and the forecast looks to be on track. 

colorado radar
Colorado radar at 7pm Sunday evening. Source: Weathertap.com

 

This band will push across the mountains tonight with a somewhat brief but intense period of snow and rain resulting in a couple of inches for elevations above 10,000ft. Temperatures are warm right now and likely won't get to their coldest readings until after the band moves through, so the best snowfall will take place at the highest elevations.

The rest of Monday will be cool with lingering clouds for northern Colorado, and then Tuesday through Saturday will be dry and warmer. Our next chance for snow will be on Sunday November 2nd, with another storm possible around the 9th or 10th.

I'm flying back from Pittsburgh to Denver early on Monday morning so wanted to get this update out before then. Saturday night's Penn State vs Ohio State game was a good one and it left me exhausted with a barely audible voice after cheering for the entire game. The result of the game was a loss, but man was it fun to be at Beaver Stadium with 107,000 fans at night. Penn State was where I studied meteorology during my undergrad days (then I moved to Boulder for grad school).

penn state football game beaver stadium

Alright, enough about Penn State ... enjoy the Monday morning views of snowcapped mountains:-)

JOEL GRATZ

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Sunday October 26th 2014 7:08am

Summary:

A band of snow will drop 2-4 inches on Sunday night for areas north of I-70 and about 1-3 inches from Aspen to mountains along I-70. Monday will be chilly and cloudy across northern Colorado with a few snow showers, then the rest of the week will be dry and warmer. Our next chance of snow will be with a storm on Sunday/Monday November 2-3.

Details:

While Saturday was a nearly perfect day across Colorado with warm temperatures and sunny skies, conditions will change on Sunday as clouds and winds will increase throughout the day.

Showers will develop late Sunday afternoon, and then a band of snow and rain associated with a cold front will move across the northern half of Colorado (roughly from Aspen north to Wyoming) between about 9pm-6am Sunday night. This band will drop the most snow north of I-70 with 2-4+ inches likely over the the higher elevations near Steamboat and along the northern continental divide. Mountains along I-70 should see about 1-3 inches with less south of Aspen. The snow level will drop rapidly down to about 8,000ft as the snow band moves through, so look for snowpacked mountain passes on Monday morning.

Monday will be a cool day with mostly cloudy skies north of I-70 and I can't rule out a few lingering snow showers. Tuesday will clear out but stay on the chilly side with highs around freezing at 11,000ft. Then Wednesday through Saturday continues the streak of dry weather as temperatures warm up. For snowmaking, Monday and Tuesday will allow crews to crank the guns, then overnight temperatures will return to marginal readings later in the week.

Between Sunday and Friday most of the precipitation across the country will target the northwest with just our quick Sunday night shot for Colorado.

colorado snow forecast ski report
Source: NOAA
 

However, the weather pattern will change a bit next weekend (during the first few days of November) as a storm should drop further south and bring moderate to significant precipitation to Tahoe. It looks like this storm will then move east and impact Colorado on Sunday November 2nd or Monday November 3rd, but we may see only a glancing blow instead of a direct hit. Stay tuned...

JOEL GRATZ

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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 copper mountain temperature

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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