There will be two moderate storms with warm temperatures between now and the end of the weekend. The first will move through on Wednesday and Wednesday night with 2-4 inches (a bit more east of the divide) and another will bring a few inches on Saturday and Saturday night (another few inches). Sunday should be drier with just a few remaining showers.
Yesterday morning was a like a mid-winter powder day with cold temperatures and soft snow. Unfortunately, I think that might be the last cold powder day of the season. We will see additional snow of the next week or two, but the next few storms won't bring temperatures as cold as we saw yesterday.
Today, Tuesday, will be dry with increasing clouds and gusty winds this evening.
On Tuesday night, the first part of the next storm will cross the northern half of Colorado and a few inches of snow will likely fall by morning.
For Wednesday, this first part of the storm will cross the central mountains in the morning, then we might see a break in the snow and the clouds around midday. From Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday evening, a second part of the storm will move across central and southern Colorado with another few inches of accumulation, and perhps 4-6 inches for the areas east of the divide south of I-70. North of I-70, it's a tough call as the front range and nearby foothills might see a few inches, but I don't know if the heaviest precipitation will make it that far north.
Precipitation forecast from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning. Multiply by about 12 to estimate snowfall. Source: CAIC
By Thursday, the atmosphere will dry out and we'll see plenty of sun through Friday. There might be some powder to enjoy on Thursday morning, but right now I'm not expecting a significant powder day. Maybe the most fun will be a few inches of fresh snow over a groomer?
On Saturday, a storm will push into Colorado from the southwest. This storm will bring lots of moisture, weak energy, and warm temperatures. This means we'll see many showers on Saturday afternoon through Saturday night, and elevations over 10,000 feet should see a few inches of snow (maybe up to 6?). Lower elevations will likely see ra-n on Saturday and Saturday night (I can't say that word:-). Sunday could offer a few fresh turns in the morning, but the main story will be a return to drier weather with a low chance for a few afternoon showers.
The next chance for a storm will be during the middle or end of next week, around April 23-25th.
Enjoy a beautiful first run this morning ... lots of fresh snow out there! Another storm will bring 2-4 or 3-6 inches of snow to the northern half of Colorado on Wednesday and Wednesday night, so Thursday morning might be another fun time to grab first chair. The weekend looks like a "tweener" with some sun and some some showers. Another more significant storm could hit Colorado on or around Wednesday April 23rd.
Patience was key on Sunday as most areas didn't see the heavy snow until midday (the front range was the exception as snow fell during the morning hours as well). Once the heavy snow arrived, it piled up quickly as this webcam from Loveland shows about 9 inches in 3 hours between 1pm and 4pm.
The Loveland snowstake webcam recorded 3"/hr for 3 hours. Aren't annimated gifs fantastic?! Source: Loveland cam and OpenSnow timelapse
Another 4-6 inches fell after the lifts closed on Sunday, so there will be lots of fresh lines to enjoy this morning. Go get some, and dress warm as temperatures on slope are about 10F.
After dry days on Monday and Tuesday, another storm will hit Colorado from Tuesday night through Thursday morning. This storm will take a similar path to yesterday's storm, but will be weaker. I'm forecasting about 3-6 inches for most mountains from Aspen north to I-70, and there might be higher amounts at the higher elevations along and east of the divide (sound familiar?) as there will be some upslope to this storm as well. Thursday morning could be a nice powder morning, then Thursday and Friday will be dry.
Next weekend isn't a sure bet. We'll be sandwiched between weak storms to our north and south, so expect some showers both Saturday and Sunday, but at this point I don't think the precipitation will be continuous or signifcant, and temperatures in the mountains be in the 40s to maybe 50. The next significant storm should arrive on or around Wednesday, April 23rd.
Quick Sunday afternoon update at 430pm ...
The heavy snow started in the mountains late Sunday morning into midday and it came down hard for a few hours with 2-3 inch-per-hour rates in some spots. It looks like many areas have a solid 6 inches, with Loveland up to 10 inches.
Snow will continue through late Sunday evening and most mountains should see another 2-4 inches with up to 6 inches after lifts close on Sunday, so Monday morning should be mighty fine. Enjoy!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.