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Daily Snow from Colorado   RSS

Wednesday June 18th 2014 10:34am

Summary:

  • 9-12 inches of snow in Utah yesterday!
  • Chilly tonight in Colorado, but not as cold as earlier forecasts.
  • Mostly dry over the mountains this weekend and next week.
  • Rain showers over the divide and east from Sunday through next Thursday.

9-12 inches of snow in Utah yesterday!

A cold storm brought snow to Utah on Tuesday, with up to 12 inches reported at Alta. And yes, turns were made (video link). Here are some before and after shots from the storm.

utah snow

Chilly tonight in Colorado, but not as cold as earlier forecasts

The brunt of the storm that hit Utah will head north to Wyoming and Montana. Colorado will cool down on Wednesday night and the mountains and plains should see some showers on Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night. However, Colorado will NOT see that much snow. The latest models have decreased the strength of the cold front, so any snow that does fall will likely be above 12,000 feet.

Mostly dry over the mountains this weekend and next week

This Thursday through most of next week should be dry over the mountains west of the divide. There could be a few showers later next week as more moisture creeps over the divide, but overall look for mostly dry conditions. This is good news for outdoor fun, but it would be nice to get more precipitation as we've recored below average precipitation during June.

Rain showers over the divide and east from Sunday through next Thursday

While the western mountains stay dry, afternoon rain showers will hit the divide and the foothills and plains east of the divide from Sunday through next Thursday. Plan your adventures for the first half of the day.

JOEL GRATZ

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Tuesday June 17th 2014 3:38pm

Summary

  • Cold temperatures Tuesday night and Wednesday night. Might drop below freezing down to 8,000ft.
  • Snow possible above 9,000 feet Wednesday afternoon and evening.
  • Rainy east of the divide from Sunday through Tuesday.
  • Dry and warm west of the divide during the same time.
  • Outlook for the end of June and early July
  • Amazing pictures and videos of yesterday's double tornado in Nebraska 

 

Cold Temperatures Tuesday & Wednesday night

A strong storm (for June, at least) is spinning over Idaho on Tuesday and will slowly head east during the next 24-36 hours. 

colorado snow

This storm will push cold air into the northern 2/3rds of Colorado, and temperatures will likely drop below freezing all the way down 8,000 feet on Tuesday night and Wednesday night. The coldest temperatures of the night are usually recorded at sunrise when the earth has had the most time to cool, so look for a nip in the air both Wednesday and Thursday morning as you wake up in the mountains. If you have sensitive plants, you might want to bring them inside to give them a taste of your warm, civilized, indoor lifestyle!

Snow possible Wednesday afternoon and evening

The Powder Finder has been dormant the last few weeks but is now back in action with a few inches of snow forecast for the northern Rockies over the next 24 hours.

colorado snow

For Colorado, a line of storms will move through the mountains on Wednesday between noon and 6pm, and these showers and storms should produce snow over about 9,000 to 10,000 feet into Wednesday evening. A few of the higher passes from Crested Butte north to Wyoming might get a bit slushy in the evening. Below is the snow accumulation forecast from 4pm Wednesday to 4am Thursday morning.

colorado snow

From Sunday through the middle of next week: wet east of the divide, dry over the mountains

Enjoy the dry weather on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the entire state, but things will change beginning on Sunday.

From Sunday through Thursday (June 26th), moisture will move north into Colorado from the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern Pacific. This moisture will bring a high chance of afternoon rain for the mountains along the divide, the foothills east of the divide, and the eastern plains. Expect 1+ inch of precipitation east of the divide and temperatures 10-15 degrees below normal with highs only in the 60s and 70s.

The moisture will be trapped along and east of the divide, so the mountains west of the divide should see little to no rain during this time, with average to above average temperatures. 

colorado snow

Outlook for the end of June and early July

Last week the long-range forecasts for the end of June showed very warm weather. However, the models have backed off of this just a bit, still showing the chance of above-normal temperatures, but cooling things off every few days with passing systems sliding by to our north.

Let's hope this model trends continues and we do NOT have a heatwave. However, long-range models are terrible, so looking out beyond 8-10 days is more of a dreamworld than reality.

Amazing pictures and videos of yesterday's double tornado in Nebraska

While the US has seen 35% fewer tornadoes than average this season, a few strong tornadoes hit towns in the upper-midwest yesterday and unfortunately there was substantial damange, loss of life, and numerous injuries.

Remarkably, at one point there were two tornadoes on the ground, at the same time, produced by the same storm. This has been seen before, but is extremely, extremely rare (perhaps twice in 40 years).

I embed some pictures and video below. 

Twin tornadoes:

Damage as one of the twin tornadoes hits Pilger, ME

Incredible:

Twin tornadoes (video link):

Unsettling video (link) as one of the tornadoes damages Pilger, NE and throws debris into the air. A tornado is an incredible thing to watch, but remember that those floating specs in the air are parts of people's lives being destroyed, which make this difficult to view without a heavy heart.

JOEL GRATZ

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Thursday June 12th 2014 3:35pm

Happy summer folks! 

Even though the summer doesn't officially begin until June 21st, we're in the final stage of our melt so it sure feels like we're moving into the next season. 

colorado snow

There is still a good bit of snow above 12,000 feet, with less in southern Colorado (Telluride pictured below on June 12th) and more in northern Colorado.

telluride

For the last 30 days, most of Colorado recorded about average precipitation and temperatures. This is a vast improvement over the last two summers when early June was already hot, dry, and full of smoke.

The longer-range models show drier and warmer weather for the end of June, but then hopefully an active monsoon season in July and August which should cool us down and deliver a healthy amount of precipitation.

I'm at Copper Mountain attending the Colorado Ski Country annual meeting, and they just shared their skier numbers. For the 2013-2014 season, Colorado recorded 12.6 million skier visits which is a new record, besting the previous record of 12.56 million during the 2006-2007. For more stats and perspective, read this article by Jason Blevins at the DenverPost.com (he's a much better writer than I am): http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_25950508/colorado-skier-visits-surge-12-6m-2013-14

Enjoy the next few weeks of mountain activies, and as the ground dries out and the temperatures rise, please keep all fires contained and ensure they are fully out before you leave the campsite. And ask others to do the same. It would be a wonderful summer if we keep large swathes of the state from buring due to human-started fires:-)

JOEL GRATZ

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Tuesday May 20th 2014 9:17am

Summary

It's been dry for a few days, but more active weather begins now and lasts through Memorial Day. Look for thunderstorms in the eastern foothills and plains Wednesday through Memorial Day, with afternoon showers over the mountains Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Details

As I wrote about last week, there will be increased chances for rain and thunderstorms at the end of this week and lasting through the Memorial Day weekend.

Over the mountains, dry weather will persist through Thursday, then moisture will move in from the south and this will help to form afternoon showers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Memorial Day might be drier, but I'm less certain about this. Don't expect any of these days to be a washout, but afternoon showers and storms are likely. Snow levels will be high throughout the weekend, likely above 12,000ft or even higher.

Over the eastern foothills and plains, moisture has already increased along and north of I-70. Expect a few evening storms to form over the foothills on Tuesday, then more numerous afternoon thunderstorms on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Again, none of these days will be washouts, but there will be afternoon rain and lightning to watch out for. The best chance of storms on most of these days will be from the foothills east to Kansas, and from I-70 north to Wyoming.

One thing to watch out for: The possibility of heavy rain along the front range and foothills on Sunday into Monday. This area is still cleaning up from the September flooding, and with stream channels not at full capacity due to debris, a high water table, and plenty of snow left to melt, heavy rain in this area during a short period of time wouldn't be very welcome.

I have little confidence of which area of the front range could see a period of heavy rain on Sunday into Monday. Anywhere from the Palmer Divide between Denver and Colorado Springs up to central Wyoming could get hit. For the last two days, the European model has been forecasting about 2.0-2.5 inches of rain falling on some part of this region on Sunday into Monday, and when the European models starts to offer consistent predictions, I've learned that it's wise to pay attention.

Don't put any confidence in the location of the heaviest precipitation in the map below ... just use it as a guide to see that there is heavy precipitation forecast for some part of the front range. While the highest precipitation totals are about 3.5 inches, that includes about 1.0-1.5 inches of possible rain from thunderstorms during the week, before the heavy rain event starts on Sunday into Monday.

colorado snow

I'll keep you updated!

JOEL GRATZ

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Saturday May 17th 2014 1:23pm

Summary

Annnnnnnd, that's a wrap. Another 5 inches fell on Friday night at Abasin in the last wave of northwest flow, and now it looks like spring and summer will be here full time. From now on I'll be posting about once per week with some general weather updates, and more often if interesting weather is in the forecast. Thanks for a great season, and enjoy the snow at Abasin which should last into June:-)

Details

The final wave of energy and moisture passed through northern Colorado in northwest flow on Friday night. This was relatively well forecasted by the high resolution NAM 4km model. The webcam on Vail Pass around 9pm Friday night showed the snow falling:

colorado snow

Arapahoe Basin picked up 5 inches on Friday night with about 0.4 inches of snow-water equivalent, for a ratio of 12.5 inches of snow to 1 inch of liquid (12.5:1). That's pretty typical for late-season snow as temperatures were in the upper 20s on the slopes.

This snowfall concludes a stellar strech of 10 straight days of fresh snow at Arapahoe Basin, totalling 39 inches. 

colorado snow

In addition to the fresh powder, another good thing happened on Friday night as across the world the Triple 8 expedition reached the summit of Cho Oyo, an 8,201 meter (26,906 foot) peak close to Mt. Everest. I've been forecasting for them over the last three weeks, in touch daily via text message if you can believe it. 

moniz cho oyo

They had plans to summit three 8,000 meter peaks, Cho Oyo, Everest, and Lhotse. But the climbing on the south side of Everest has stopped for the season due to respect for Sherpas who died in an icefall a few weeks ago as well as due to on-going tensions between the Sherpas and the Ministry of Tourism in Nepal. I don't know what their plan is, but even a single 8,000 meter peak is a fantastic accomplishment, especially for Matt Moniz who is still in high school! More here: http://www.climb7.com

Back to Colorado, the week ahead looks dry and warm over the mountains with afternoon thunderstorms over the foothills and eastern plains along and north of I-70. For the holiday weekend, these afternoon showers will continue on the plains and extend over the mountains, but they look more like a nuisance than a washout.

JOEL GRATZ

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