Monday through Wednesday will be dry. Then on Thursday, the first storm of the week should bring light-to-moderate snow to the northern mountains. Friday will provide a break of dry weather, then on Saturday, a potentially stronger storm should bring more snow to the northern and perhaps central mountains. Next week, January 18-22, should also provide multiple chances for snow.
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Short Term Forecast
Sunday was mostly sunny and also a little chilly with high temperatures ranging from the upper teens to the mid-20s.
Monday will be another sunny day with comfortable afternoon temperatures rising into the 20s. The day will start chilly in the valleys, however, with readings colder than 0°F in some spots as I noted below.
To give an example of how the temperature can be colder at lower elevations (as colder, dense, heavier air flows downhill and settles), the temperature at mid-mountain at Copper is -2°F while the summit of Copper is 14°F. This type of temperature inversion is easy to measure if there are weather stations but difficult to model without a very high-resolution model.
Tuesday and Wednesday
These will also be dry days with comfortable temperatures rising into the 20s and 30s. While Tuesday should be mostly sunny, more clouds will move over on Wednesday in advance of the next storm.
This will be our first chance for snow during the week. A storm will clip the northern mountains as it passes by to our north and east. If the storm moves close enough, we could see the energy from the jet stream give an extra lift to the air and create bands of intense snow. The best chance for snow will be from I-70 northward to Wyoming, and amounts could be anything from a dusting farther south to 3-6 inches or more closer to Wyoming and closer to the divide.
Back to dry weather for the entire state.
Saturday & Sunday
Another storm will track to our north and east, just like Thursday's system. However, it's likely that energy from this storm could track more directly over Colorado, and the northern and perhaps central mountains could see moderate snow totals (3-6 inches or more). The timing of this storm should mean that turns would be getting softer throughout the day on Saturday with maybe soft leftovers or even freshies on Sunday morning. Not all models show this storm bringing us healthy snow, but most do, so my confidence is reasonably high.
The University of Utah multi-model forecast for the far northern mountains shows the two storms on Thursday and Saturday with at least a few inches for the first storm and more than that for the second storm.
Our next chance for a storm will be around Monday, January 18, or Tuesday, January 19. The chance that we get this storm is really a toss-up. Some models have it, others do not, and since we're still seven days away, it is normal for model disagreement.
Then it looks like a stormier pattern will develop across the Rockies and the western US starting later next week and our two best chances for storms will be around Thursday, January 21, and again around Monday, January 25 to Tuesday, January 26.
We have been watching and waiting for this stormier pattern to develop later in January and it is fun to see the medium-range models now picking up on potential individual storms within this stormier pattern. The most important question is whether the individual storms will bring big snow to Colorado, and it is still too soon to know.
I will continue to post reader-submitted pictures to keep us motivated to ride even during periods of drier weather. Here is today's photo.
This was the start of a three-day insane run in early January 2008. -George D.
Thanks for reading!
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