The storm is delivering with 1-5 inches on Thursday night and an additional 1-6 inches should fall during the day on Friday, favoring areas further to the east. Saturday morning could offer soft turns, and it now looks like some snow showers will linger across the central and southern mountains on Saturday, with moderate snow amounts in the southern mountains on Sunday. After that, light snow will return during the middle of next week and then most models agree that Friday (January 18th) is trending toward being a powder day.
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Short Term Forecast
On Thursday afternoon, I was minutes away from writing an update to downgrade the forecast for Thursday night and Friday because most models had shifted much of the snowfall 50-100 miles east, missing most of our mountains.
But the American GFS model was holding firm on its forecast for most of our mountains to get snow, and I didn’t want to yo-yo the forecast (going back-and-forth between snow and no snow), so I decided to not write an update and let the current forecast ride.
Well, I’m glad that I didn’t downgrade the forecast because subsequent model runs went back toward a snowier scenario, and in real life, the snow did begin on Thursday evening and is ongoing now on Friday morning.
The national radar animation on Friday morning shows that the snow over Colorado and New Mexico is the major storm in the country at the moment.
Snow reports on Friday morning, showing snow that fell on Thursday night, are in the 1-5 inch range, favoring mountains further to the east.
Beaver Creek: 3”
Snow will continue and should wind up being the deepest near and east of the continental divide. This includes Eldora, Berthoud Pass and Winter Park, Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Monarch, and Wolf Creek, though it could take all day and into the early evening for these areas to eventually see the deeper accumulations. Also, the south and southwestern parts of Summit County, which is Breckenridge and Copper, can see good uplift from an east wind, which is why these areas have already seen a few inches of snow.
Expect conditions to get deeper and softer through the day. As the day goes on, the latest models show that snow will hang on near and east of the divide but become more showery well west of the divide.
Snow should hang on for areas near and east of the divide with a few more inches, and less or no snow further west of the divide.
Energy from Friday’s storm will hang around southern Colorado and this could bring additional showers. I am not expecting consistent accumulations around a large area, but a few central and southern mountains could see a few inches during the day.
Maybe the same deal as Saturday with showers lingering over the southern and central mountains.
There could be sneaky powder in the southern part of the southern mountains, Purgatory and Wolf Creek, as a weak system moves along the Colorado / New Mexico border. The map below doesn’t show much snow, but other models show more snow, so we’ll keep an eye on it!
Monday and Tuesday should be dry.
Then we’ll see increasing moisture and some snow showers from Tuesday night through Thursday. I think accumulations during this time will be light, just a few inches, and favor the southern and central mountains.
The light snow on Wednesday and Thursday will be ahead of the main system, which should move through sometime on Thursday night or Friday.
Based on this timing, it looks like Friday, January 18th could be a solid powder day for most mountains in Colorado, and snow could linger into Friday night which would make Saturday morning soft and fun as well.
It’s possible that another system could bring a powder day around Monday, January 21st, but that’s a little less certain in the modeling, so we’ll wait a few more days before we can say if the holiday weekend will bring one or two or even three potential powder days.
Thanks for reading!
My next update will be on Saturday, January 12. I will be traveling through early next week and my posts will be a be published a bit later than usual. Thanks for understanding!
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
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains
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