Colorado Daily Snow

Tough forecast, I think Friday, Sunday, and Monday have the best chance for powder

Summary

Tuesday and Wednesday will be dry and warm. Then two pieces of a west-coast storm will head east toward Colorado later this week and weekend. The first piece could bring snow from Wednesday night through Friday morning, with the second piece bringing snow from Saturday night through Sunday evening. The best chances for powder should be on Friday, Sunday, and maybe Monday morning, and the deepest totals of 12+ inches should fall in the southern mountains.

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Short Term Forecast

On Monday we saw some clouds, some breaks of sunshine, and a few snow showers with little or no accumulation.

Now on Tuesday, most of the state will be warm (highs in the mid-30s) and dry. There is a chance that we’ll see afternoon showers in the southern mountains, though I do not think we’ll see widespread snow accumulation.

Wednesday will also be a mostly dry day, and temperatures will be even warmer with highs in the 40s.

The weather will finally become more active later this week as a storm over the west coast begins to move east. Below is look at this storm as of Tuesday morning, and the center of the system is spinning to the west of California and Oregon.

Even though we are only a few days away from seeing the first batch of snow from this storm, I still have little confidence in the details. That’s because, instead of this entire storm moving slowly from west-to-east and eventually hitting Colorado, pieces of energy from this storm will break off from the parent system and head east, and it’s much more difficult to accurately forecast the timing and track of each little piece of energy.

After looking at five models, the trend I am seeing is this.

The first piece of energy will bring light snow on Wednesday night and Thursday, favoring the mountains that are further west and south. Then more intense snow should fall later on Thursday or Thursday night into Friday morning. To find the best powder, keep your eye on the southern mountains on Thursday, and all mountains on Friday morning. Total accumulations should be in the 3-6 inch range for most areas with 10+ inches possible in the southern mountains. The temperature during the beginning of this snow will be warm with snow levels potentially near or over 10,000 feet, then we’ll see much cooler air by Friday morning with temperatures in the upper teens to low 20s.

The second piece of energy will bring snow on Saturday night, Sunday, and potentially through Sunday evening. I think you’ll find the best powder on Sunday and possibly Monday morning with another 3-6 inches for most mountains.

Below is a map showing the average snow forecast from 51 versions of the European weather model. Add roughly 1.3-2.0x to the totals to adjust for the model’s lower resolution.

The most important thing to keep in mind about this forecast is that I have super low confidence in the timing and track of each of these two batches of snow.

For the past few days, the forecast has shifted in a big way every 12-24 hours, and I expect the forecast to continue to shift.

Sometimes, such as when a strong cold front will steadily move from west-to-east across the western US, we can nail the timing of the snow down to a few hours, many days in advance. This series of storms is not one of those cases. So keep your schedule open for some powder days coming up, but be ready to adjust as new information arrives!

Extended Forecast

Following the potential powder on Sunday and Monday morning, I think we’ll see dry weather early next week, on Tuesday and Wednesday (though if the Sunday/Monday storm slows down, maybe we will see some snow on Tuesday).

The next chance for snow should be later next week, roughly between Thursday, March 22 and Sunday, March 25, as another system moves slowly over the western US.

Thanks for reading!

JOEL GRATZ

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Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Along the Divide
Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains

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