Holy coldness! Temperatures started around -10 to -20 degrees this morning and will only get into the single digits today. Conditions are awesome, just try to stay warm as you enjoy the snow!
Yesterday's storm behaviored similar to how I thought it would evolve, though there were surprises. The central and southern mountains saw the heavier snow start earlier than I thought, so they had the highest totals. The northern mountains didn't get as much of a kick from the cold front as I thought, so totals here were at or below the low end of my forecast. And Loveland and Ski Cooper saw a surprising amount of snow on Tuesday during the day, and I still haven't figured out why (mostly likely due to a narrow band of energy in the upper part of the atmosphere that was impossible to forecast or see in real-time).
I updated the Keep Me Honest page (http://opensnow.com/about/keepmehonest) which shows my forecast compared to the actual totals. You can scroll down that page and see data for the last 3-4 years.
Here are the highest totals from the storm:
- Wolf Creek - 23
- Monarch - 20
- Durango - 18
- Loveland - 17
- Crested Butte - 17
- Telluride - 16
- Ski Cooper - 15
- Aspen Mtn - 14
- Snowmass - 14
- Vail - 12
- Sunlight - 12
- Steamboat - 11
- Breckenridge - 11
Today and Friday will be cold but there won't be much or any new snow accumulation. There could be a few flurries or light snow showers in the afternoon each day, but this won't amount to much.
The next storm moves in on Saturday and lasts through Sunday afternoon.
The southern mountains will see the heaviest snow on Saturday night, with 8-12 inches possible for a storm total.
The central mountains from Aspen south to Crested Butte will also see the heaviest snow on Saturday night, with about 4-8 inches.
The northern mountains along and north of I-70 will see the heaviest snow late Saturday night or more likely Sunday morning through midday. I'm expecting about 2-4 or 3-6 inches here.
This storm won't be very energetic and won't have much moisture, but the cold air will be efficient at creating snow. If we get dendrite crystals to pile up (imagine a "perfect" snowflake shape), then it'll easy for the snow to measure deeper than my forecast. Let's hope this happens!
Also, don't forget that you can see all the forecast details and click through each mountain for webcams, temperatures, etc: http://opsw.co/CO1-5
Next Monday through Thursday will be dry, then another storm will likely move in on Friday-ish (December 13th). It's too far away to know how strong this storm will be, but most models agree on its arrival next Friday.
For those of you in Boulder, come to Neptune Mountaineering tonight as I'll be giving a short talk at 8pm to open for Jason McGowin's (La Sportiva) show, "Skiing Light and Fast in the Backcountry." https://www.facebook.com/NeptuneMountaineering/events
The heaviest snow is over for central and northern Colorado, though light to moderate snow showers will persist for the rest of the day.
Southern Colorado is still seeing heavy snow, and this will continue through the late afternoon.
Once the snow ends and the clouds dissipate this evening, temperature will become very cold and these cold readings will last through Friday. Dress warm if you'll be out trying to time the rope drops that are sure to happen for many areas.
The next storm will arrive Saturday and last through Sunday. It looks like total snowfall from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon could be 6-12 inches for the southern mountains and perhaps 3-6 inches for the central and northern mountains. I'll take a closer look at this forecast tonight and post a more detailed outlook Thursday morning.
Following the weekend storm, most of next week looks dry, with another chance for snow sometime in the Thursday/Friday/Saturday period (December 12-14th).
Hope you enjoyed some great turns this morning!
Quick morning update...
North of I-70 around Steamboat, the snow fell nicely last night and it'll continue to fall for the next few hours until winding down toward midday.
Along I-70, Summit County saw snow yesterday (along with Leadville and Ski Cooper) while Vail, Beaver Creek, and Copper saw very little. I wasn't expecting much to fall, so it was a surprising bonus for the areas that saw good snow. Overnight, the cold front moved in between about 2-4am and that's when the snow started to fall pretty heavily. We'll see another few hours of heavy snow this morning through about 10am to noon, which should provide the forecasted 4-7 inches today. It looks like Beaver Creek and Vail saw about 5 inches between midnight and 5am, so this would get those areas to about 10-12 inches if all pans out. In Summit County, snow took longer to start and didn't really accumulate until closer to sunrise, but I think another 4-7 or more is likely this morning until noon.
Around Aspen, the snow started falling closer to midnight and the front came through between 3-4pm. About 6-8 inches fell overnight (10 at Sunlight), and another 4-7 is likely between 5am and about noon.
Further south around Crested Butte and Monarch, it absolutely dumped last night with about 11 inches falling overnight at CB. I knew they were do well with a wind from the WSW, but I didn't think their snow would start falling heavily until later at night and this morning. It looks like the snow has let up in this area, but I expect it to pick back up through the midday hours.
The San Juans surprised me by seeing heavy snow fall last night. I thought they wouldn't see good snow until today when the front moved closer, but the WSW wind cranked the snow last night, far more than even the more accurate European model thought. Telluride reported 8, Wolf Creek overdelivered (again) with 12. I expect heavy snow to continue all day today with potentially another 8-12 inches.
Get out there and enjoy the pow! Temperatures are cold north of the front (about north of Aspen) and will be getting colder during the day south of the front, so dress warm.
Almost everything is going according to plan today, except for the heavy snow in Summit County. I'll talk about that in a second.
My forecast for today was that the heaviest snow would stay north of I-70 closer to Wyoming, and most areas along I-70 and south to Aspen, Crested Butte and Monarch would see just an inch or two in on-and-off snow showers. This has generally come to fruition.
In Summit County, however, it's been snowing moderately all morning through early afternoon with about 5 inches at Loveland since sunrise and about 3-4 inches at Abasin, Keystone, and Breckenridge. The oddest part of this is that areas in western Summit County (Copper) and in Eagle County (Vail, Beaver Creek) have seen very little snow, even though the air has to cross these locations before it gets to Summit County. I have no idea why Summit is getting good snow while adjacent areas on all sides of Summit are seeing very little. Maybe the atmosphere is making up for past wrongs!
For the rest of tonight, the storm still seems to be on track, with snow picking up this evening and becoming heaviest overnight into the first half of Wednesday before winding down. The exception to this is in the San Juans, where the heaviest snow won't start falling until Wednesday morning and will last through Wednesday afternoon.
The front range and foothills could see some light snow this evening, but the heaviest snow will wait to fall until after midnight (earlier for northern areas like Fort Collins) and should last through midday Wednesday before tapering off.
I saw that I-70 closed for about 2 hours today due to an accident at the tunnel, but as of 2pm it re-opened. I doubt that'll be the last road closure with this storm. Please do yourself and your fellow powder lovers a favor by driving responsibly and ensuring you have good tires on your car:-)
Heavy snow Tuesday evening through Wednesday afternoon with 8-14 inches for most mountains. Timing and amounts will vary by each mountain range; see below for the details. The front range and foothills will also see snow, perhaps 5-10 inches. Very cold air will settle over the state Thursday and Friday. The next storm brings snow to most mountains Saturday night and Sunday and could be in the 3-6 or 4-8 inch range. All forecast details are here: http://opsw.co/CO1-5
11am update: increased Tuesday's forecast a few inches for the higher elevation mountains of Summit County as snow is picking up.
I posted an update this morning before I completed all of my forecasts, and I'll do this as much as possible when storms are on the doorstep so you can get information a little earlier in the morning. I know some folks want me to post by 5am, but that won't happen very often. If there are big changes to the forecast, I'll write an update the night before so it's waiting for you when you wake up.
The main message today is that the European model is going to be correct (surprise, surprise) and the cold front with it's heavy snowfall will move through Colorado more slowly than the other models predicted.
On Tuesday (today), the cold front will get hung up between I-70 and the Wyoming border during the afternoon and evening and this is where the heaviest snow will fall. Further south along I-70 and the central mountains, look for a cloudy day with snow showers and a bit of accumulation later in the day.
On Tuesday night, the cold front will slowly shift south and east. Late Tuesday night or around sunrise Wednesday morning is when I expect to see the heaviest snow for I-70 and the central mountains around Aspen and Crested Butte.
From Wednesday morning through Wednesday noon, heavy snow will fall along I-70 and the central mountains, and snow will pick up in the San Juan mountains in the southwest part of the state.
Expect the snow to wind down during the second half of Wednesday for most areas, though it'll continue heavily in the San Juans through the day.
Storm totals for north of I-70 will be about 10-18 inches. Along I-70 down to Aspen and Crested Butte, look for about 8-14 inches, which is a few inches less than I had in yesterday's forecast, mainly because the front will stall to the north of this area and the heavier snow will see a delayed arrival. The San Juans should see about 6-10 inches with 8-12 in the favored areas like Silverton and Wolf Creek.
During the times of heaviest snow, it's still likely that some roads will close. For you I-70 warriors, that could be right around sunrise Wednesday morning. Keep an eye on updates from CDOT.
Very cold air with flurries will be the weather story on Thursday and Friday.
The next storm will hit Colorado Saturday evening through Sunday. Right now it seems like this will be a moderate storm with about 3-6 inches for many areas, and perhaps more if things come together just right.
Another storm or two is likely next week, but we've got plenty of snow to talk about between now and then, so no more details for the second week of December at this point.
Look for another update tonight as the storm moves in! Once again, you can see the detailed forecast here, and can click through to each mountain's page for more information on temperatures, webcams, etc. http://opsw.co/CO1-5