We have received SO much snow during the month of May.
May 1st was a powder day at Arapahoe Basin.
May 1st was also deep in central Colorado where the snow stake at Irwin Catskiing (just west of Crested Butte) recorded over 18 inches.
Fast forward about one week and there was another deep powder day on May 9th. The picture below was from Monarch Pass where the closest automated snow measuring site (SNOTEL) recorded about 15 inches.
About one-and-a-half weeks after that, on May 20-21, another powerful snowstorm hit Colorado. Most mountains received 6-20 inches of accumulation, and the most impressive snow stake camera was at Vail’s mid-mountain. On May 20th, Vail's stake picked up 13 inches, and then the snow kept going on the morning of May 21st with another 5 inches by 9 am (and more fell through noon).
After those three storms, you might think that the atmosphere would take a break, but no, more snow was on the way.
About one week after the previous storm, more snow fell on May 28th. Steamboat’s summit snow stake camera recorded 16 inches during the day. Wowzers!
The snowpack graphs from around the state show a snowy story.
Arapahoe Basin (which is open for daily operations through June 2nd and then will be open weekends through at least June 23) has a snowpack of 230% of the average for this date. Usually, the snowpack is in rapid decline at this point in the year, but right now the snowpack is still deeper than the average deepest depth of the season, which usually occurs in early April.
If you think the snowpack in the northern mountains (including Arapahoe Basin above) is amazing, wait until you see this chart.
Below is the snowpack graph for Silverton in the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado. We’re in record territory (the dashed line is the 35-year record and the orange line is this season).
Below, the color of Colorado’s snowpack map is dark blue EVERYWHERE in the state, which means that the snowpack in every river basin is at least 150% of average. The white numbers show the actual snowpack percentage in each basin. Notice the 500-600% values in the southwestern mountains. During an average year, the snowpack would be in deep decline right now, but this year the snowpack is still super deep.
Back to average temperatures
The 15-day multi-model temperature forecast shows that we should trend toward average high temperatures as we head into the month of June (the red line is the average high temperature). The only hiccups could be a cooler storm around June 9th (+/- 1-2 days).
All of the snow that we’ve received is awesome for the water situation in Colorado and across the west. Yes, we love snow, but water is the end result of the snow and it’s great to have the moisture.
Now, we hope that as temperatures warm, they do so only moderately and allow this deep snowpack to melt slowly, or at least normally. If we rapidly move into very warm weather, there will be extensive flooding.
OpenSummit (summer forecasts) now on the Web, iOS, and Android
OpenSummit is our summer forecasting service to help with your hiking, climbing, and biking adventures.
It provides 5-day hourly forecasts of precipitation, lightning, temperature, and wind for the 1,000+ highest and most notable mountains around Colorado and the United States.
The old rule of thumb to be off the summit by noon to avoid lightning can be reasonable, but every day is different. Some days could have lightning risk much earlier than noon, some days might see lightning holding off until the late afternoon, and some days could be completely clear and dry. Our goal with OpenSummit is to help you not get zapped!
OpenSummit was only available for iOS over the last two years, but now it is live as a website and an Android app!
OpenSummit Website: https://opensummit.com/
OpenSummit iOS App: https://opsw.co/opensummit-iOS
OpenSummit Android App: https://opsw.co/opensummit-Android
A couple more thoughts about OpenSummit
* You can find OpenSummit forecasts via the map on the “Explore” tab or by searching for a specific location. If you do not see your favorite mountain/location, ask us to add it by clicking the “Add this location to OpenSummit” link in the search results. Or just click here: https://opsw.co/opensummit-add
* If you are an OpenSnow All-Access subscriber ($19/year) then you are automatically an OpenSummit All-Access member as well! Just log into OpenSummit with the same email address and password that you use for OpenSnow, and voila – you’ll have access to the 3-5 day forecast data. More details about ONE subscription for both apps.
* Below is a screenshot from the OpenSummit website. The same information is available via the website, iOS app, and Android app. And just like OpenSnow, you can “Favorite” certain mountains and they will show up on your home screen, which we call the “Basecamp”.
* If you enjoy the iOS or Android apps, please consider leaving a positive review. And if there are improvements that you'd like us to make, email [email protected] and we'll jump on it.
That’s it for now!
Thanks for reading and for your support this season!
Go check out OpenSummit, and I hope that you have a wonderful summer!
My next post here on the Colorado Daily Snow will be in early August when I’ll search for any storms that might head our way in the fall.