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Colorado Daily Snow

Saturday morning storm wrap-up, spring arrives next week

Summary

Ski areas are closed for the foreseeable future. Weatherwise, in the northern mountains, Thursday night we saw 4-9 inches, on Friday morning an additional 2-4 inches fell, and on Saturday morning we saw another 2-4 inches. This storm over-performed in the northern mountains. On Saturday and Sunday, a few showers will bring light additional snow amounts to the northern mountains. Then next week will be dry and warm with mountain temperatures in the 40s and 50s.

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Short Term Forecast

Should You Go Skiing?

While it appears to be legal to go skiing, my take on this is that it's probably best to not ski.

If you go skiing in the backcountry, please stay close to home, do not travel to mountain communities if you don't already live there, and put yourself in a low-risk situation so that you do not have an accident that requires search and rescue (here's an amazingly-good article about what happened near Telluride on March 24th).

If you go skiing at a closed resort, please check ahead to see if uphill access is open (spoiler alert – uphill access is NOT open at most resorts) and respect those resorts who have closed uphill access.

The Weather

We went into this latest storm looking for 4-8 inches on average in the northern mountains. Following periods of snow on Thursday night, Friday morning, and Friday night, general accumulations in the northern mountains are about 8-14 inches, or close to double the forecast.

About half of the snowfall, 4-9 inches, came on Thursday night, and then additional showers on Friday morning dropped 2-4 inches, and then there was more snow on Friday night into Saturday morning with 2-4 additional inches.

This is the scene in the northern mountains on Saturday morning. It looks like full-on winter with light snow still falling, new snow on the trees, and a healthy stack of flakes on the picnic tables.

Saturday morning’s visible satellite image shows low clouds sticking around the northern mountains while skies are sunny and dry over the central and southern mountains.

Saturday’s forecast is for more of the same – lingering snow showers and clouds over the northern mountains, likely slowly dissipating through the day.

Sunday’s forecast is for dry weather for most of the day, then a fast-morning storm will bring the chance for bursts of intense snow and rain for a few hours to the northern mountains during the late afternoon and early evening.

Sunday evening’s snow showers could bring a dusting to 3 inches to the northern mountains. Due to warm temperatures, the snow level could be near or above 10,000 feet.

Extended Forecast

Next week will be full-on spring weather.

From Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 1, our skies will be mostly dry (maybe a brief afternoon shower one day) and temperatures will be on an upward trend.

Here is the high-temperature forecast for Berthoud Pass at 11,300 feet. Highs will be in the 40s early in the week and the warmest days will be on Thursday and Friday when temperatures reach the 50s thanks to high pressure moving directly over Colorado.

You can see on the graphic above that the temperature forecast becomes a bit cooler after Friday, May 1st. The longer-range models show a trend toward slightly cooler weather during the first weekend of May and into the first full week of May. And we might see another cooler storm during the first full week of May, sometime around May 5th. But snowstorms over the mountains during May are typical, so what we’re seeing in the forecast is a typical transition from winter into spring.

With the majority of the season’s snow behind us, I will wind down my daily posts with my final wrap-up post on Sunday, April 26th.

As the snow accumulation season winds down, and the hiking/biking season starts up, be sure to check our other service OpenSummit.com and the OpenSummit App for iOS and Android for hourly forecasts for hundreds (soon to be thousands) of peaks and trails around Colorado and the United States. OpenSummit clearly shows lightning risk, temperatures, winds, precipitation, and cloud cover at the elevation of the trails. Also, in a few weeks, we will add new features that will be especially cool - more on that soon.

Stay healthy, stay happy.

My next and final post of the season will be on Sunday morning.

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, 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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