Colorado Daily Snow

Colorado: Brush-by storms next week

Summary

I have high confidence that we’ll see mostly dry weather through about November 20th. Weak storms may bring light snow to the northern mountains around November 10-11, November 14, and November 17. Temperatures at night should be cold enough for snowmaking at most of the higher-elevation resorts.

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Short Term Forecast

Wednesday was another lovely day in the mountains with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s.

Our snowpack is still above average for this time of year, though each day of dry weather pushes the numbers closer to and maybe (eventually) below average.

Below is a mountain cam image looking at the back bowls of Vail. It doesn’t look too shabby for early November. Vail is not open yet, and they plan to start spinning a few front-side lifts on Friday, November 15th.

The weather story on Wednesday was a cold front that moved through areas east of the mountains. Just behind the cold front, low clouds formed, and you can see the low clouds moving from northeast-to-southwest (upper-right to lower-left) in the animation below. These clouds did not make it west of the foothills, so all ski areas remained mostly sunny.

Since the weather for the next few days will be benign, I’ll repeat the list of mountains that are currently and soon-to-be-open.

Open Every Day:
* Arapahoe Basin
* Eldora
* Keystone
* Loveland
* Winter Park

Upcoming Openings
* Breckenridge (starting Fri, Nov 8 and every day after)
* Copper (starting Fri, Nov 8 and every day after)
* Monarch (re-opening Fri, Nov 8 – Sun, Nov 10)
* Wolf Creek (re-opening Sat, Nov 9 – Sun, Nov 10)

Thankfully, nighttime temperatures at many of the higher-elevation mountains are cold enough for snowmaking, so we’ll continue to add a little bit of terrain to our repertoire every few days.

Extended Forecast

Within the next week, we’ll have three chances for storms to brush by northern Colorado and potentially bring a few flakes to the northern mountains.

* Sunday into Monday, November 10-11

* Thursday, November 14

* Sunday, November 17

At one extreme, all of these storms could completely miss Colorado and we would see no flakes. At the other extreme, maybe one of these storms comes in a little stronger and the northern mountains receive a few inches of snow. At this point, odds are very, very low that any of these systems will bring significant snow.

Looking further ahead, I continue to pay close attention to the 10-15 day forecasts for any sign of a shift to a more active weather pattern.

A short-cut way to see a potential active pattern at a glance is to look at the PNA Index.

If the index is positive, that usually means drier weather around Colorado and the Rockies.

If the index is negative, that usually means stormier weather around Colorado and the Rockies.

We want to see a negative (below 0) index, but unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it’s in the cards for the next two weeks.

The images below show multiple lines:

* Green line = the average of many model versions
* Blue bars = the range of many model versions
* Black line = just one model version

Again, for stormy weather in Colorado, we want to see these lines/bars going below the zero line, but chances of this happening in the next two weeks are slim to none.

The European model:

The American GFS model:

The Canadian model:

Before you get excited about the black line in the Canadian model going below zero and hinting at storms after November 19th, remember that the black line is just ONE model version. The average of all versions of the Canadian model is still solidly above zero (boo).

All of this means that aside from the three brush-by systems that are possible in the next week, I do not see a sign of a stormier pattern in the next 10-15 days. We’ll see if things can shift during the final 7-10 days of November.

I will repeat the following disclaimer through the next week or two in case this post is someone’s first visit to the Colorado Daily Snow and it seems like all we are talking about is doom and gloom.

* The snowfall we had in October was well above average, some mountains are open, and more will be open soon.

* If we can get a few significant storms in late November through early December, terrain options will quickly expand.

* Neither a snowy October or a dry November tells us anything about how much snow we’ll see from December through April. We'll take each storm as it comes and enjoy the ride.

Thanks for reading!

My next update will be on Friday morning.

JOEL GRATZ

PS –  I am giving seven talks during the next six weeks. See more details below and I hope to see you at one of the events!

Announcements

Upcoming talks

These talks are usually 45 minutes and allow me to show a little of the science behind snow forecasting, have some fun, and answer lots of questions. I’ll post details about each talk as they are available.

* Frisco: Nov 8 @ Highside Brewery
600-700pm: Happy Hour
700-800pm: Presentation
More details

* Nederland: Nov 12 @ Salto Coffee / Tin Shed Sports
300-600pm: Happy Hour
600-605pm: Eldora News and Intros
605-615pm: POW Presentation (Kerstin Ulf)
615-645pm: OpenSnow Presentation (Joel Gratz)
645-700pm: Q&A with Kerstin & Joel
More details

* Denver: Nov 14 @ Denver Athletic Club
* Wheat Ridge: Nov 19 @ Downriver Equipment
* Evergreen: Nov 21 @ Boone Mountain Sports
* Breckenridge: Dec 6 @ Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge
* Basalt: Dec 12 @ Bristlecone Mountain Sports

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

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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