Colorado Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest Colorado Daily Snow

Snow returns next week?

Summary

For this week, we'll be in a holding pattern with no snow, sunshine, and relatively warm temperatures. On Sunday, December 5, the northern mountains could see a few flakes, and then around Tuesday, December 7, we might see a stronger storm with meaningful snowfall.

Short Term Forecast

Sunday was yet another clear day with blue skies, light winds, and high temperatures that rose into the 30s.

Monday morning's temperatures are unfortunately starting out about 5°F warmer compared with Sunday morning, which means that conditions are more marginal for snowmaking. Aside from that difference, Monday will look a lot like Sunday with clear skies and high temperatures in the 30s to low 40s.

Tuesday to Saturday will continue our streak of dry and warm weather with high temperatures in the mid-30s to mid-40s, and overnight lows will be cold enough for snowmaking on Tuesday and Wednesday and then a little warmer with more marginal snowmaking conditions later in the week. The Colorado Daily Snow isn't supposed to be focused on snowmaking, but it's all we have at the moment!

Visually, this week's weather pattern is about as simple as it gets – dry high pressure is covering most of the western United States, including Colorado.

Extended Forecast

In about one week, we'll finally see some changes to our stagnant and unexciting weather.

On Sunday, December 5, the northern mountains may be clipped by a storm to the north and there could be a few flakes.

Then around Tuesday, December 7, the most exciting news is the potential (NOT A SURE THING!) for a decent storm to move across Colorado with snow for most or all mountains. The latest American GFS model (below) shows the potential storm on Tuesday.

While the above map looks like a sure bet, it's just one version of one model.

Below are 51 versions of the European model, and for the storm around Tuesday, December 7, about 50% of the versions show a meaningful event with the other 50% showing a lesser event. In other words, there's a good chance that we'll see snow, but it's too soon to know if this will be a significant storm.

After December 7th, we'll head into the "I'm not sure" part of the forecast.

In the graphic above, you can see a variety of colors from December 8-13, which indicates forecasts that range from dry to more snow.

Below are the longer-range forecasts from December 8-13. That blue stormier area to our north is getting closer to us (compared with the forecast for the first six days of December), and that's a good thing, but it is also not right over us, so I do NOT have high confidence that we'll enter a stormier pattern around mid-December.

The European model above and the American model below both show storminess over the Northwest during the middle of December, but whether the brunt of these storms move farther south and east to Colorado or just clip us from time to time is something that we can't know at this point.

Like I mentioned yesterday, our high-elevation snowpack is below average but could be brought up to average or above with one or two big storms. Our low-elevation snowpack is non-existent, which is why skiable terrain at this point is greatest at the higher-elevation mountains and/or at the upper part of mountains. With the sun angle getting to its lowest point of the year, any snow that does fall in December will stick around on north-facing slopes, so that's in our favor. We just need the atmosphere to deliver the flakes, and the next shot of that is around December 7th. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for reading!

JOEL GRATZ

PS – Scientists need your help to collect precipitation observations during winter. Join the community, and during winter storms, share what type of precipitation is falling from the sky. To sign up, text COrainsnow to 855-909-0798. You’ll receive 3 intro texts over the first 3 days, including the first one sharing the web app so you can send your observations. This is a NASA-funded project led by Lynker, the Desert Research Institute, and the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Bluebird Backcountry, 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