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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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Saturday April 12th 2014 8:26am MDT

Summary:

A few snow and rain showers on Saturday and Saturday night, then the main snowstorm will hit between about 7am to 7pm on Sunday. Eldora and other areas just east of the divide will see 10-14", along the divide (Abasin, Loveland, Winter Park) should see about 10 inches, mountains west of the divide should measure 6-10", and the plains east of the divide will see 6" near the foothills to just a few inches further east. The best powder will be last run Sunday or first run Monday with at least a few inches falling after lifts close on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday will be dry, snow is likely Wednesday and Thursday, and then Friday through next weekend should be dry (though there could be a few showers around).

Details:

During the day today (Saturday), there will be a few rain and snow showers that pop up in the afternoon. I don't expect any widespread accumulations, but the some mountains could get dusted.

Our snowstorm on Sunday is currently over the Pacific Northwest. This satellite image shows the storm as the black "dip" over Washington, moving toward the southeast.

colorado snow

Saturday morning water vapor satellite image showing the storm (black dip over Washington State) moving southeast toward Colorado. This storm will produce our snow on Sunday. Source: Weathertap.com

For the mountains along and east of the divide (Eldora, Winter Park, Loveland, Abasin), the snow will start falling heavily by mid-to-late Sunday morning, if not earlier. Snow will continue through most of the day, and then begin to taper off in the evening. Sunday should be a great powder day, and if your mountain is open on Monday, I'd vote for first tracks on Monday as well with a few inches falling after lifts close on Sunday. Total accumulations could be about 10 inches along the divide with 14" (or more?) in the higher foothills east of the divide.

For the mountains west of the divide (most of the ski areas are west of the divide), the heaviest snow might not start until late morning or midday. Then snow should fall moderately to heavily through the afternoon and continue through late Sunday evening before winding down by midnight-ish. Most locations will see 6-10 inches, so Sunday last run and Monday first run will be fun.

Despite the recent warm temperatures, all roads above 6,000-7,000 feet will likely become slush or snow covered when the heavier snow hits, so expect a slower drive on Sunday afternoon.

Click here to see my snow forecast for each mountain: http://opsw.co/CO1-5

colorado snow

The American NAM model shows about one inch of liquid equivalent precipitation during the storm for many mountains. I'm estimating a snowfall ratio of 12 inches of snow to 1 inch of liquid, and then lowered total amounts a bit west of the divide and increased them a bit east of the divide to account for past experience of how these storms usually work out (although, of course, every storm is different!). Source: CAIC

Monday morning will be chilly, but should be dry with blue skies, and Tuesday should be dry as well.

Another storm should hit on Wednesday and Thursday, but there is no agreement between the models. The European model shows a much weaker system, while other models dump 12+ inches over most mountains. If things come together, Thursday might be a powder day, but I have very low confidence in this right now. Stay tuned.

Long Range:

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday look dry, but I can't rule out a few showers or a quick-moving storm that brings a bit of snow, wind, and cooler weather sometime during these days. Hopefully we'll be able to lock-in the weekend forecast by next Tuesday or so.

JOEL GRATZ

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Friday April 11th 2014 8:03am MDT

Summary:

Sunday's storm looks stronger, so expect a fun powder day for most areas with snow starting Sunday morning and continuing through Sunday evening. More than 12 inches of powder is likely east of the divide (Eldora, eastern foothills) with a good chance of 7-10 inches along and west of the divide. The plains east of the divide should see 3-6 inches. Early next week looks dry, then snow is likely next Wednesday and Thursday. Dry weather should return for Friday and Saturday, then I'm uncertain about Sunday the 20th and the days after. 

Details:

Friday will be a warm and sunny day. Use sunscreen!

On Saturday, clouds will increase and we'll see a few afternoon showers pop up. I don't think these showers will produce much precipitation, but you might see a few rain drops and snow flakes, and the winds might become gusty.

On Saturday night, expect a few inches in the mountains north of I-70, mostly after midnight.

Then the heavier snow should begin Sunday morning and continue through Sunday evening, likely continuing after last chair. All of the major models shifted the storm's path further west, and all of them also increased the storm's strength. This gives me more confidence that Eldora and the eastern foothills could see 12+ inches, and areas along and west of the divide will see more significant snow than I thought, perhaps around 7-10 inches. The skiing should get better and deeper through the day on Sunday, and since a few inches will fall after lifts close, Monday morning could be a fantastic time to grab first chair (if your mountain is open!) with cold and blue skies above and fresh powder at your feet. Here's a list of my snow forecast for each ski area: http://opsw.co/CO1-5

colorado snow

Each major model shows a strong trough dropping over Colorado on Sunday. Look for the cooler colors that dip southward, indicated by a red line which I drew over the map. Source: Meteocentre

Next Monday and Tuesday will be dry, then chances for snow return on Wednesday and Thursday though there is little agreement between the models about the details of the one or two storms that will move through during this time.

Long Range:

Next Friday and Saturday should be dry, then I see a storm trying to sneak through northern Colorado sometime between Sunday 4/20 and Tuesday 4/22.

JOEL GRATZ

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Thursday April 10th 2014 7:21am MDT

Summary:

Dry Thursday and Friday. Then snow showers on Saturday, with steady snow on Sunday and Sunday evening. You'll find the best powder during Sunday's last run and Monday's first run with about a foot east of the divide (Eldora), 6-10 inches along the divide (Winter Park, Loveland, Abasin), and 3-6 in the mountains west of the divide and on the eastern plains. Next Monday and Tuesday will be dry, then snow will return on Wednesday and Thursday (April 16/17). The following weekend should be dry (April 19/20).

Details:

A weak storm is passing to the north of Colorado this morning. Radar is showing some precipitation falling over northern Colorado, but the air is very dry near the ground so most of this precipitation is evaporating before it hits the earth.

colorado snow

Thursday morning radar over the north-central US. Source: Weathertap.com

During the rest of the day on Thursday, a few showers may be strong enough to produce rain drops or snow flakes that actually reach the ground, but most locations will just see partly sunny skies and warm temperatures.

Friday will be even warmer and continued partly to mostly sunny.

Saturday will be a transition day with increasing clouds and a few showers. 

On Saturday night, our next snow storm will move closer with a few inches possible over the mountains of the northern divide, but the main batch of snow will wait to arrive until Sunday.

Expect snow to begin Sunday morning and fall steadily from around midday through sunset. This means that the powder will get deeper through the day, so plan to hit the slopes late and stay through last chair. There's also a good chance that a few inches will fall after lifts close on Sunday, so the first few turns on Monday morning should also be good. 

The best moisture will reside on the east side of the divide, so Eldora and the eastern foothills should see about a foot with upslope winds (from the east). The plains to the east should also see snow, perhaps 3-6 inches mainly on non-road surfaces. The divide itself will see significant totals as well, with 6-10 inches likely for Winter Park, Abasin, and Loveland. West of the divide, northwest winds will allow for respectable totals, but moisture will be more limited, so I think 3-6 inches is a good bet for most other mountains. As usual, you can compare the forecast for each mountain, and get even more details for each resort by clicking on its name in the list: http://opsw.co/CO1-5

colorado snow

The heaviest precipitation on Sunday and Sunday evening will fall east of the divide. The numbers given are for liquid equivalent precipitation. Multiply by 12 to estimate snowfall. Source: Weatherbell.com

Next Monday and Tuesday should be dry.

Long Range:

An additional storm (or two) will hit Colorado during the middle of next week. Expect snow on Wednesday and Thursday (April 16/17), perhaps some snow lingering into Friday the 18th, and then a dry weekend for April 19/20.

JOEL GRATZ

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Wednesday April 9th 2014 8:05am MDT

Summary:

Dry through Saturday for most of Colorado with a few showers across northern Colorado Wednesday through Thursday. The next significant storm will bring snow from late Saturday night through Sunday night, with up to 12 inches east of the divide (ie. Eldora and eastern foothills), about 6-10 inches along the divide (Winter Park, Loveland, Abasin), and 3-6 inches for the rest of the mountains and the eastern plains. Next week we'll likely see another storm around Wednesday the 16th, then the following weekend looks dry (April 19/20).

Details:

Yesterday we had clear skies and the midday satellite image revealed a beautiful sight with thick snowcover over the higher mountains and remaining snow over the lower slopes and foothills. Can you pick out your favorite mountain range?

colorado snow

Visibile satellite from 10:45am yesterday (Tuesday, April 8th). Source: Weathertap.com

The rest of this week's weather will be mundane with mostly sunny skies. Two weak storms will pass well to the north of Colorado on Wednesday and Thursday, and some energy from these systems will help to create scattered showers Wednesday afternoon, Wednesday night, and Thursday, generally from I-70 north to the Wyoming border. Most areas will not see any precipitation, but there could be a few rain drops (or snow flakes at the highest elevations).

Saturday will be another mostly dry day, though we'll likely see a few more rain and snow showers in the afternoon.

Our next storm will move in from the north late Saturday night into Sunday morning, and snow will fall through the day on Sunday into Sunday evening. The heaviest snow will fall east of the divide, with Eldora and surrounding foothills potentially seeing 12+ inches from early Sunday through Sunday evening. The ski areas along the divide should do pretty well with 6-10 inches (Abasin, Loveland, Winter Park), and areas west of the divide will see respectable but lower totals, likely around 3-6 inches. The eastern cities and plains (Denver metro) could also see about 3-6 inches, but I doubt the roads will get cold enough for any hassles ... perhaps some slush. 

In short, Sunday should be a fun day to ski with some freshies during the day.

Snow will end Sunday evening, and Monday will be dry. There might be a few inches of snow that falls after the lifts close on Sunday, so Monday morning first chair might offer a bit more powder, but the majority of the snow will likely fall and be skied on Sunday.

Long Range:

We should see another weak to moderate storm during the middle of next week, but details on that are still sketchy. Most models do agree that we'll see warm and sunny weather over the weekend of April 19/20, so get your sunscreen ready and enjoy!

JOEL GRATZ

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