The Colorado Daily Snow

Snow & Powder Forecasts for Colorado

Snow continues on Saturday

Summary:

  • Couple inches of snow for most mountains on Saturday
  • Quick shot of snow Saturday night for mtns north of I-70?
  • Superbowl Sunday will be dry
  • Monday through Thursday will bring some snow to northern mtns
  • Overall weather pattern still not favorable

 

Details:

Wolf Creek, Durango, and Silverton reported another 3-4 inches this morning bringing their storm totals to 6-8 inches. Not bad, but less than I thought would fall up until this point. This is likely due to the warmer temperatures. Elsewhere, Monarch picked up a few inches Friday afternoon and another few on Friday night for a storm total of 5 inches. Most other mountains saw just flurries or light snow showers on Friday afternoon and Friday night, with one wave dropping more on Ski Cooper (3") and Sunlight (4").

The weather situation on Saturday morning puts Colorado between two systems. One storm is spinning over southern Nevada, and this has been responsible for pushing moist and warm air into the state from the south. Some energy from this storm will move east over Colorado on Saturday and should help to bring at least a few inches of snow to most mountains. The satellite image below also shows a storm heading south through Montana. This should clip northern Colorado on Saturday night. Earlier in the week I was hoping that these two systems would interact a bit more (energy from the northern storm plus moisture from the southern storm could have combined to create higher snow totals for most mountains), but that's not to be.

colorado snow
Saturday morning water vapor satellite image. Source: Weathertap.com

 

Saturday: I'm forecasting about 1-3 inches for most mountains. Perhaps a bit more in the southern mountains, and also a bit more for places that will see a more direct strike of the energy that's pushing out of the main storm over Nevada. This might be Powderhorn and Sunlight, though it's also tough to know exactly where this energy will go. By mid morning on Saturday, winds will swing around to blow from the west and west-northwest, and this is a better wind direction for central and northern Colorado compared to the southwest winds that we've seen over the last 36 hours. Overall, my expectations for snow totals are low, but with plenty of moisture in the air, perhaps we can get a few upside surprises. Warm temperatures will work against an upside surprise as this keeps the atmosphere from efficiently converting moisture into snow.

The radar on Saturday morning does show the snow filling in over western Colorado and slowly heading toward the east over the rest of the state.

colorado snow
Source: Weathertap.com

 

Saturday night: Most areas will just see lingering flurries as the Saturday storm ends. However, the system moving south from Montana will just clip northeastern Colorado. This system has decent energy, so it could kick up a few heavier snow bands. Almost all forecast models pinpoint that the most likely location of these bands will be over the divide north of I-70 (Cameron Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks, Eldora). Berthoud Pass, Winter Park, Loveland, Abasin, and Steamboat will be on the edge. That said, if the storm moves just a few miles west, other mountains in Summit County and Vail / Vail Pass could see a burst of snow. If the storm moves a bit to the east, most areas won't see much snow. I do NOT have high hopes for a Sunday morning powder day along and north of I-70, but I will be watching webcams Saturday night just to see how things are going and if there will be any surprises. 

Superbowl Sunday: Dry and mostly sunny (maybe some clouds hanging around northern Colorado). Game time is 430pm MST.

Sunday night through next Thursday (Feb 5): Northwest flow will push waves of moisture over northern Colorado. Look for times of snow along and north of I-70. The storm track will be too far to the north to bring us consistent, heavy snow, so I'm only forecasting an inch or two each day and night, with perhaps heavier snow on Wednesday as a stronger wave of energy moves through the flow. Northwest flow is finicky, and like Saturday night's storm, just a small shift in the track of the energy can mean less or more snow. So stay tuned for details. In general, I'm not enthused about lots of powder for next week, but I hope that the data trends in a better direction.

Late next week: The ridge rebuilds over the western US and Colorado returns to dry, sunny, and warm weather.

colorado snow
Source: GFS model from Weatherbell.com

 

Longer range: Still no end in sight for the western ridge.  From the 8th through the 15th of February, most models show some version of the ridge persisting, but we could get lucky and see a storm or two head over the ridge and drop into Colorado from the north, or a storm could sneak under the ridge and bring precipitation to Colorado from the south. When will the ridge decay or move and allow Colorado to see consistent cold and snowy weather? Sorry, I have no idea. If I see hints of this happening, I'll let you know, but the models are often too quick in forecasting a break-up of the ridge, so I don't want to be the meteorologist who repeatedly cries wolf...

JOEL GRATZ

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