Colorado Daily Snow

October 1, 2013 7:25am MDT

Expect two more perfect days this week as today and Wednesday will be sunny and warm with the Aspens turning their peak colors in many areas.

The details of Friday's storm are slowly coming together, and while a small shift in storm track will lead to some differences in snowfall amounts, I have a decent feel for how this storm will play out. The European, Canadian, and American models are in decent agreement, so let's get down to details!

+ The storm will focus most of its precipitation on the northern half of Colorado. This means decent snow from about US50 (Monarch Pass, Gunnison) north to the Wyoming border. The San Juans will see much less precipitation.

+ Precipitation will start between 6pm and midnight on Thursday night, fall heavily for a few hours overnight as the front moves through, then will linger as off and on showers during the day on Friday. All precipitation should end by Friday evening.

+ It will be cold enough for snow above 6,500 feet for most areas by about midnight Thursday night and lasting through Friday. Saturday will be dry but cold for this time of year. Temperatures will warm about 10-15 degrees on Sunday.

+ Snow will accumulate about 2-4 inches as the cold front passes on Thursday night. Expect another 2-4 inches during the day on Friday in off-and-on snow showers. The San Juans will likely see just an inch or two for each time period, while areas further north along I-70, up to Steamboat, and along the northern divide at Eisenhower Tunnel, Berthoud Pass and Rocky Mountain National Park and Cameron Pass could see 3-6 inches each period.

+ Total accumulations by Friday evening could be just an inch or two in the San Juans (perhaps a bit more in northern areas like Red Mtn Pass and Telluride), about 4-8 inches for central areas, and perhaps 6-12 inches locations along and north of I-70.

+ If the storm is on the stronger side, it might draw in air that will be cold enough for snow in the lower front range foothills down to 6,000 feet or perhaps even lower. Don't be surprised if you see flakes!

This is the American model's forecasted precipitation for the storm from Thursday night through Friday night. Multiply by a factor of about 10 for this storm, so 1" of precipitation is about 10" of snow. This ratio depends on temperature and is usually closer to 15:1 in the colder storms during the season.

Colorado storm

The storm is still 2.5 days away, so take my snow forecast numbers as estimates at this point. I won't trust the models until their updates on Wednesday afternoon.

Looking past this storm, Saturday will be chilly but dry, Sunday will warm up 10-15 degrees, and Monday should be a bit warmer with continued dry weather. The next storm should impact us on Tuesday or Wednesday but I have no condfidence in the details at this time.

JOEL GRATZ

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