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Daily Snow from Colorado   RSS

Saturday September 20th 2014 9:35am

Summary:

Saturday will be a great day - enjoy! Sunday and Monday will be cloudier with showers, then just a few leftover showers on Tuesday, then dry weather Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We'll likely see a cooler storm sometime late next weekend or Monday the 29th.

Details:

Friday was mostly sunny with a few afternoon clouds and showers over northern Colorado.

Saturday will be similar, except the better chance of afternoon clouds and showers will be along and south of I-70.

The big change comes on Saturday night into Sunday when clouds cover much of the state, and then rain showers could fall any time on Sunday through Monday. There will likely be two times of heavier showers, perhaps Sunday morning/midday and again late Sunday night through Monday morning.

Then showers will stick around Colorado on Tuesday in northwest flow, and if this were winter, the mountains along and north of I-70 would have great powder on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Ah, we can dream...

Next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will be dry, and likely Saturday as well. Then a cool storm could affect Colorado sometime around Sunday the 28th or Monday the 29th. There is NO model agreement on the timing or strength of this storm, and even the usually accurate European model is flip-flopping with each new model run.

I'm trying to see the forest through the trees when looking at the various models, and this points me to thinking that we'll see a slower-moving system that will be cut-off from the main west-to-east flow of weather. These cut-off storms usually move more slowly than the models anticipate and are very tough to forecast, so aside from getting excited for the likelihood of high-elevation snow before the month is out, I can't give any more details.

colorado weather forecast

The American GFS model's forecast for the storm late next weekend around the 28th. Source: Weatherbell.com

Have a great Saturday enjoying the outdoors and hopefully looking at some leaves!

JOEL GRATZ

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Friday September 19th 2014 9:23am

Summary:

Friday and Saturday will be good days with just a few afternoon showers over the mountains. Sunday evening through Monday night should be the wettest time with numerous showers over the entire state. On Tuesday a few showers will hang on, then Wednesday and Thursday should be mostly dry. A cold storm will likely hit Colorado next weekend with valley rain and mountain snow Saturday night through Sunday the 28th.

Details:

Thursday was a nice day across Colorado with clouds popping up over the mountains during the afternoon but few if any rain showers coming out of those clouds.

Friday will offer a better chance of afternoon showers as we'll have more moisture and some storm energy moving through during the afternoon. The Friday morning radar image showers showers along a band of storm energy from northern Utah into Wyoming, and this will move through Colorado during Friday afternoon. Again, there won't be many showers, but there will be a few during the afternoon and evening hours.

colorado weather forecast

Friday 8am radar image. Source: Weathertap.com

Saturday will be a nice day, similar to Friday. Most areas will be dry while a few clouds and storms pop up over the mountains. Saturday will be the nicer of the two weekend days.

Moisture will begin to surge into Colorado from the southwest on Sunday afternoon, and this combined with the cut-off storm moving closer to Colorado will bring rain showers from Sunday evening through Tuesday evening. The best chance of heavier, steady rain will be Sunday evening through midday Monday, then expect scattered afternoon showers both on Monday and Tuesday for the northern half of Colorado.

colorado snow

A storm that is cut-off from the main flow of weather will bring rain to Colorado on Sunday evening through Tuesday evening. Source: Weatherbell.com

Next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday should be dry and beautiful September days with just a low chance for a mountain shower each day.

Then we get to have some fun next weekend. If this forecast weather pattern were to occur in the heart of winter, I'd be getting excited for a Sunday (September 28th) powder for much of state, especially around Wolf Creek, Durango, and Silverton. But alas, it's still September, so we won't be riding deep powder, though we can still have some fun talking about snow and cold air.

Most models agree that a trough (or storm) will impact the western US next weekend. Based on the slower forecast given by the often more correct European model, and based on this upcoming weekend's storm which is moving slowly, I'll give the nod to the slower forecasts for the cold storm in two weekends. This would mean that Friday the 26th is dry, then the heaviest rain and snow would fall Saturday night through Sunday the 28th. Of course this is 9 days out so the timing could vary, but overall at least next Sunday looks cool, wet and/or snowy with some precipitation possible on Saturday as well.

colorado weather

The forecast for next weekend (September 27-28) shows the likelihood of a storm over the western US. Each line is a possible path for the storm, so while I'm confident that we'll see some rain, snow, and colder air, the exact details are still very uncertain. Source: Environment Canada

If the storm during the last weekend of September comes through as advertised, snow levels could fall down to 10,000 or so, bringing flakes to many ski areas. I'm concerned that wind from the storm could strip the golden aspen leaves from their branches, but if some of them manage to hang on, there could be beautiful views during the last few days of September with snow on the peaks and golden trees at mid slope.

The European model is forecasting general storminess for the western US / Canada during the first part of October, and while this long range forecast is out in "fantasy land", running the odds would show that Colorado could have another one or two cool storms early during the 10th month of the year. It's about time we get back to a weather pattern that's fun to talk about!

JOEL GRATZ

PS - If you like the laid-back feel at some of the smaller Colorado resorts, check out the GEMS card which is now on sale and allows you to get 2-for-1 lift tickets at eight Colorado mountains.
http://www.coloradoski.com/Gems

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Thursday September 18th 2014 8:50am

Summary:

Thursday will be mostly dry, a few more showers on Friday (but not many), then Saturday will be mostly dry and the much nicer day of the weekend. Sunday through Tuesday will be showery for most of the state, then one or two colder systems could affect Colorado sometime between Friday the 26th and Tuesday the 30th.

Details:

On Wednesday there were a few showers over the mountains, but most of these were "dry" with the rain evaporating before it hit the ground. With a little more moisture over the southern mountains, more of the showers produced brief bursts of rain.

Thursday will be similar to Wednesday with most areas seeing a dry and very warm day and a few showers over the mountains, mostly over the San Juans.

Friday is now looking like a pretty nice day. Earlier in the week, Friday looked like a wet day with lots of moisture moving into Colorado from the remnants of Hurricane Odile. However, most of Odile's moisture is going to stay south of us over New Mexico, so Friday's forecast is now similar to Thursday with afternoon clouds and showers over the mountains, but really nothing of significance.

If you're looking to get outside and play this weekend, choose Saturday. I can't rule out a shower over the mountains, especially along the eastern continental divide, but for the most part it'll be a nice day in the mountains where the Aspens are beginning to turn their beautiful fall yellow. The exception to the clear weather will be in the eastern foothills and front range which could see low clouds for much of the day with an upslope wind from the east.

The turning point in our weather will start on Sunday when moisture from a storm over California works into Colorado. This storm is cut off from the main west-to-east flow of weather, so it will move very slowly and will bring showers to Colorado from Sunday midday or afternoon all the way through Tuesday evening or even into Wednesday morning/midday. 

colorado weather

Forecast for the slow moving cut-off storm later this weekend and into early next week. Source: Weatherbell.com

Next Wednesday and Thursday look like nice days next week, and then...something "interesting" will happen:-)

Between Friday, September 26th and Tuesday, September 30th, one or two colder storms should move across the the western US and Canada. The details of these storms are 100% unknown and the models are unbelievably waffley (is that a word?). We might see nothing more than cooler air for northern Colorado and some wind, while snow falls in Wyoming and Montana. Or we might see one or two strong cold fronts move across the mountains with snow falling down to 10,000ft (mid-mountain-ish) or lower. At this point, nobody knows what will happen, but it's nice to see some action on the long-range forecast. Stay tuned...plenty of time to figure out the forecast to see if we can get some widespread snow to fall on the mountains while the calendar still reads September.

JOEL GRATZ

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Wednesday September 17th 2014 7:47am

Summary:

Wednesday and Thursday will be mundane with afternoon clouds and a shower over the mountains. Friday brings a better chance of rain, but not a lot of rain. Saturday will be the drier day of the weekend (still a shower possible), while Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday look cloudy and potentially pretty wet. The second half of next week should be dry.

Details:

Tuesday was a nice day with a few afternoon showers over the mountains, with the most showers over the San Juans.

Wednesday is dawning with dry conditions across the state and some high cirrus clouds spreading up from the south. It was a beautiful sunrise from the Mt Evans webcam with the cirrus clouds visible at the top of the image.

colorado weather

Looking at the current weather across the west, there are two obvious features on the infrared satellite image (infrared sensors on the satellite measure temperature and therefore can "see" the colder clouds above the ground even though it's dark during the overnight hours).

The first feature is over Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. This is what's left of Hurricane Odile. Heavy rain of more than 3 inches is falling over AZ and NM, but the main effect on Colorado will be high clouds over southern Colorado, afternoon mountain showers over the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountains, and a burst of heavy rain for extreme southeast Colorado on Friday as the decaying center of Odile passes by. Most of Colorado will not see heavy precipitation from Odile.

colorado weather

Wednesday morning satellite image. Source: Weathertap.com

The second feature is the swirling mass of clouds west of California. This storm will cut-off from the main west-to-east flow of weather and it will hang out over California for a few days before finally moving east toward Colorado early next week.

What does this mean for our weather?

Wednesday and Thursday will be mostly dry with the best chance for showers over the southern mountains.

Friday will still be mostly dry, but there's a better chance for afternoon showers over most mountains. This is because a bit more moisture will be over the state.

Saturday will be the nicer day of the weekend as we'll be in between the two storms I mentioned above. I still can't rule out the chance of a shower over the mountains and some low clouds over the front range and plains east of the divide, but if you're heading to the hills to check out the early fall color, Saturday looks better than Sunday.

By Sunday, the cut-off storm over California will move toward us, so look for lots of showers, clouds, and cooler weather on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as this storm moves along at a turtle's pace.

colorado weather

Respectable rainfall totals could fall on much of Colorado on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday according to the American GFS weather model's forecast. Source: Weatherbell.com

Yesterday I talked about how the European model showed the cut-off storm moving more slowly than the American GFS model, and how this would lead to a pretty nice weekend. That was half correct. The storm IS going to move more slowly than the original GFS forecast, which is pretty standard as the GFS is usually too fast with these storms. And the European was pretty much correct, delaying the arrival of the storm until early next week. However, the storm is going to be potent enough to pull moisture into Colorado well ahead of its arrival, and this is why Sunday is now looking like not the greatest day. In short, the European model was about right with the timing of the storm, but a bit off with its strength.

By next Wednesday the cut-off storm should move east of Colorado with improving weather. Then next Thursday and Friday should be sunny with near normal temperatures.

These cut-off storms are really a pain to forecast ... they're like a drunk person stumbling around at 2am with no direction and you can't tell where they're going to go next. I'm relatively confident in the forecast I shared above since more of the models are coming into a agreement AND the models match my previous experience of cut-off storms. But I'm not as confident as I would normally be about a 4-5 day forecast, so stay tuned.

JOEL GRATZ

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Tuesday September 16th 2014 6:54am

Summary:

Mostly dry on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with a few afternoon showers over the San Juan mountains. The best chance of rain showers will occur between Thursday night and Friday night. Next weekend's weather is still tough to call, but I think it'll be on the drier side for most mountain areas in central and northern Colorado.

Details:

A few afternoon showers popped up over many of the mountains on Monday, but on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the majority of these showers should be confined to the southern mountains, generally south of US50 over the San Juans and Sangre de Cristo ranges.

Our tranquil weather pattern will break down on Thursday night as the remnants of Hurricane Odile move toward Colorado from the south while another storm splits into two parts to our west, with one part heading for Colorado.

Between Thursday night and Friday night, look for cloudier weather with a good chance of rain showers and a few Thunderstorms.

During this time, the remnants of Odile will bring heavy rain to northern New Mexico and *maybe* to southern and southeastern Colorado, roughly from US160 south. There will be a limited path of heavier rain, and right now I'm not sure if this stays south in New Mexico or reaches up to southern Colorado.

Also on Thursday night through Friday night, part of the splitting storm to our west will move across northern and central Colorado, bringing an increase in showers and storms for most mountain and valley areas. This won't be an all-day soaking rain, but it will be a wetter day than Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

colorado weather forecast

Basemap shows the Tuesday morning Water Vapor satellite image. Source: Weathertap.com

The big question is what will happen to the second half of the splitting storm to our west after Friday?

On the map above I show it heading south toward the southern coast of California. Since these splitting storms usually move very slowly, I'll side with the European model's prediction that it will stay over southern California through the weekend and won't move toward Colorado until Tuesday of next week. This is about 1-2 days slower than the American GFS model's forecast.

Siding with the European makes our weekend look mostly dry over the northern 2/3rds of the mountains, with just a few showers over the San Juans and some cooler, perhaps cloudier weather over the eastern plains. In short, the European model says it'll be a nice weekend to look at the early fall color in the northern half of Colorado, while the American GFS model says it'll be wet for a lot of the weekend. Again, I'll side with the Euro since splitting storms usually move very slowly.

Lastly ... a quick look at the long-range forecast shows the possibility of a cooler system affecting northern Colorado and areas east of the divide during the last 3-5 days of September. I'll keep ya posted ... don't put too much confidence in 10 day forecasts:-)

JOEL GRATZ

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