Colorado Daily Snow

Southern mountain storm this week

Summary

Monday and Tuesday will be dry. The next storm will be a slow mover and should bring snow to all of Colorado from Tuesday night through Friday night with the best chance for the deepest accumulations (12-24 inches) over the southern mountains. Other areas should be in the 4-10 inch range, and maybe higher if we’re lucky. Next weekend will be dry, then multiple storms will likely bring snow during the week of Thanksgiving.

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Short Term Forecast

From the air

I am going to start today’s post with more reader-submitted photos of our mountains from the air. I love these photos for the perspective that they bring, and of course, if you’re just interested in the forecast, skip the photos and scroll down.

Monday Morning

The northern mountains will see some clouds while the rest of the state will see sunshine. A weak storm clipped the northern mountains on Sunday night and I could not find any snow on cam images except for Berthoud Pass where it looks like there were just enough flakes to dust the road.

Monday & Tuesday

There won’t be much to talk about. Skies will be dry and partly cloudy, and temperatures will be warm with nighttime lows in the upper 20s and daytime highs in the upper 30s to mid-40s.

Tuesday Night – Friday Night

My confidence is high that we’ll see the chance of snow for three days. Let’s break it down.

This storm has lots of moisture and will move slowly, which will give us the chance for significant snow.

Because the winds will blow from the south for the first two days of the storm, the southern mountains will be favored for the deepest snowfall. Other mountains will see snow, and it could be significant, but to get the significant snow, the non-southern mountains will need some luck with bands of intense snow happening to track over their location. The exact location of these bands cannot be forecast 3-5 days into the future.

For timing, expect an initial wave of snow from Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon, then likely a second wave of snow from later Wednesday through Thursday. We should see snow showers continue through Friday.

The storm will start with warm temperatures and the freezing level on Tuesday night and Wednesday could be near 10,000 feet. Heavier bands of snow could push the snow level down to 8,000 feet. This means that most mountains should see snow, though there could be rain mixed in near base areas.

Temperatures on Thursday and Friday will be cooler with snow levels closer to valley bottoms, so precipitation should fall as snow across all mountains.

Storm total precipitation across multiple models favors the southern mountains, as we discussed. Multiply the numbers below by about 12 to estimate snowfall. That’s 12-24 inches for the southern mountains (Purgatory, Silverton, Wolf Creek) and maybe 4-10 inches for other mountains.

For the best powder at the open mountains, we could see some new snow on Wednesday, though Thursday and Friday will likely offer deeper and colder snow. In the south, Wolf Creek will reopen on Saturday and Purgatory is scheduled to open on Saturday, so this storm should help open more terrain at those areas, though the new powder will likely have settled somewhat by the time lifts start spinning on Saturday morning.

Extended Forecast

For the first time in a while, I can say that the longer-range outlook brings nothing but good news.

Following a dry weekend from November 23-24, we should see multiple storms during Thanksgiving week and the weekend after Thanksgiving.

All models show some flavor of storms during the days of November 25 – December 1. It’s too soon to know which parts of Colorado will be favored, but I am cautiously excited about enjoying some powder around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanks for reading!

My next update will be on Tuesday morning.

JOEL GRATZ

PS – I hope to see some of you at one of my upcoming talks listed below!

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.

* Wheat Ridge: Nov 19 @ Downriver Equipment
- I will be talking about snow forecasting
- Ron Radzieta will be talking about river flows for rafting, etc
- The night starts at 600pm
- Beer provided by Good River & Fat Tire
- Directions and details

* Evergreen: Nov 21 @ Boone Mountain Sports / Evergreen Brewery
- Doors open at 600pm, beer and great food available for purchase
- My talk starts at 700pm
- Directions and details

* Breckenridge: Dec 6 @ Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge

* Basalt: Dec 12 @ Bristlecone Mountain Sports
- 700-730 Light refreshments
- 730-830 Presentation + Q&A
- Tickets are $10/person (proceeds benefit Roaring Fork Conservancy)
- More details
- Purchase a ticket in advance (might sell out)

Plug for the 12th Annual CAIC Benefit Bash

- November 23rd at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center
- The biggest fundraiser of the year for CAIC
- LOTS of prizes, awesome live music, silent and live auctions, dinner, and drinks
- Win skis, splitboards, packs, and more
- Get your ticket today!

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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