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Rain and snow showers will continue through Tuesday midday. Snow levels will be high, near or above 11,000 feet. Most of the time from Wednesday through Sunday will be dry, then we may see a storm around Halloween. Still looking for a pattern change to bring cooler weather…and I might have found something to be (somewhat) excited about.
Precipitation started to fall on Monday night and continues now on Tuesday morning. Most of the precipitation is falling over the southern and western-most mountains.
And a closer zoom to western Colorado:
The most precipitation (so far) was reported 11 miles northeast of Durango where 0.80 inches of rain fell.
In terms of snow, temperatures are warm, running near or above projected readings, so the snow level is high, around 11,000 feet, which is near the summit or above most ski areas.
In far western Colorado, heavier precipitation overnight drove the snow level down to about 10,000 feet, as you can see from this CDOT webcam image on the top of the Grand Mesa.
Showers will continue through the first half of the day on Tuesday, then we’ll begin to clear out. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday should be dry and warm for most mountains. The only wrinkle in this forecast is the chance for a few showers late Friday into Saturday morning, especially
Our next chance for a cooler storm will be within one day on either side of Halloween (next Monday, Oct 31). The American GFS model says it’ll make a rather direct hit on Colorado with decent precipitation, while the European model says that the storm will go north and we won’t see much precipitation. I’ll lean toward the Euro because the general weather pattern (and recent history) points toward storms staying to the north and west of us, but hey, it’s a 6-7 day forecast, so things will change and I’ll keep you updated.
The bigger question, beyond when we could see our next storm, is when we will see a pattern change so that we can get consistently cold air.
The 15-day forecasts from the European model and American GFS are starting to show a pattern change emerging about 1 week into November.
Right now, the flow of air into Colorado is from the southwest. That’s a warm flow.
Around Halloween, that flow should change to come from the west-southwest or even west. That’s better and opens the door to more storms and some cooler air.
And about one week into November, the flow could even come from a bit north of west, which would be better still.
While this looks like good news, please use caution before concluding that we’ll get tons of snow starting in early November. Forecasts 15 days into the future aren’t terribly accurate, and based on my forecasting experience over the last decade, models often are too excited for a pattern change, and the real change often comes later than the models predict.
That caveat aside, at least there are some signs of a change, and even if that change doesn’t immediately bring snow and cold air, it should set the stage for more winter-like weather as we get into the meat of November.
Temperatures will cool slightly behind the Monday storm, so there could be some high-elevation snow making on Tuesday night into Wednesday as the air dries out. However, with above-average temperatures (by 10-20 degrees!) likely persisting through at least the end of October, I don’t see any periods where the snowmakers will consistently be able to crank the guns for the next week. Halloween-ish will likely be the time of our next shot of cooler air.
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