On Friday, snow showers will drop a coating to three inches over the northern and central mountains. Then a cold and stormy pattern will develop on Saturday evening with chances for snow every day through about Sunday, October 14th. Most mountains will get at least 6 inches, the southern mountains could be favored with 12+ inches, and snowflakes will fall down to the elevation of many mountain towns.
Short Term Forecast
The Friday morning radar image shows a line of precipitation crossing the central and northern mountains (this is earlier than I thought it would occur), with another line back in Utah that should move through Colorado on Friday midday.
These showers are producing snow near and above 10,000 feet.
The Grand Mesa, just south of Powderhorn ski area in the central-western mountains.
Trail Ridge Road at Rocky Mountain National Park in the northeastern mountains.
Following the bursts of snow on Friday morning and Friday midday and afternoon, we’ll likely see 12-24 hours of drier weather from Friday evening through Saturday midday or early afternoon.
The weather pattern from Saturday night through the end of next week will feature a cool and stormy trough over the Rocky Mountains (blue and purple colors in the map below).
A trough of cool and stormy weather over Colorado does not guarantee that every mountain will see snow every day. However, it means that the atmosphere is in a mood to produce precipitation and keep the air cooler than average, and that loads the dice for most mountains to see snowflakes for many days in a row.
In fact, this pattern is EXACTLY what we want to see…during mid-winter. I mean, I’ll take it now as it’s fun to see snow, and precipitation is always welcome. And this storm will likely produce enough snow for some folks to make the first turns of the season. But if this happened during mid-winter, some parts of the state would have a powder fest for about one week. Ah, we can dream!
Since this stormy pattern will move slowly and wobble around the Rocky Mountains for the better part of one week, it’s still tough to time the exact periods of heavier snow.
To dig into the data a little more, I looked at the average snow forecast from 51 versions of the European model. I laid out these 24-hour snow forecasts for each of the next 10 days.
The main takeaway is that each of the next 10 days could bring snow, which is amazing.
Friday - light snow for the central and northern mountains.
Saturday - mostly dry, some showers later.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - good chances for snow, likely deepest in the southern mountains where we could see 12+ inches.
Thursday - maybe a drier day?
Next Friday and Saturday - moisture from now Hurricane Sergio could combine with our cool and stormy pattern and produce more snow.
Things might finally quiet down and warm up starting around October 14-5, we’ll see.
I’ll keep you updated daily through this stormy period, and yes, there will be pictures coming out of people hiking for turns and skiing reasonable powder (with no base, watch out for the rocks!).
If you have pictures or video of making early-season turns and want to share with our community of skiers here in Colorado, email me at [email protected] and let me know the date, name of skier, the name of the photographer, and general location (no need to give away secret powder stashes:-).
Also, temperatures will be cool enough during the next 7-10 days for the mid and upper sections of many ski areas to see snow, and the deepest accumulations will be over 10,000 feet. During the coldest periods and the times of the most intense precipitation, snowflakes will fall down to 7,000-8,000 feet, which means that some mountain towns will get snow as well.
Thanks for reading … next update on Saturday, October 6.
* October 18 in Colorado Springs
* October 25 in Golden
* November 7 in Boulder
* Early November in Summit County
* November 28 in Vail
* December 5 in Denver
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