Wednesday through Friday will be dry, warm, and sunny, then Saturday will stay dry but become windy in advance of the storm. On Sunday, expect snow for most mountains with colder temperatures allowing snow to fall down to the valleys and snow-covered roads by the end of the day. Total snowfall on Sunday and Monday could be measured in double digits for many mountains.
Short Term Forecast
The weather will remain dry, sunny, and warm through Friday.
While temperatures are not that cold, thanks to low humidity values overnight, crews at the higher-elevation mountains of A-Basin, Copper, Keystone, and Loveland are making snow for at least a few hours overnight and during the early morning, and some progress is being made. With marginal snowmaking conditions this week and better snowmaking conditions early next week, my guess (just a guess!) is that lift-serviced turns will be possible sometime around the final five days of October.
Between the calm and warm weather on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and the storm arriving on Sunday, the weather on Saturday and Saturday night will be dry but agitated with gusty winds. A day of gusty winds is typical in advance of a significant storm.
The big change in the weather will occur late on Saturday night into Sunday morning as a cold storm arrives in Colorado. My bullet-point summary from yesterday still holds:
- Saturday will be dry with gusty winds as the storm approaches.
- Saturday night should bring the first batch of rain and snow, though it may only hit some southern and far western mountains by the time we get to sunrise on Sunday.
- Sunday will be a full-on storm day with periods of intense precipitation, rain changing to snow at most mountains as the temperature cools, and snow likely sticking on many mountain roads.
- Sunday night into Monday should bring additional snow and cooler temperatures in the teens and 20s. Monday will feel like a winter day with fresh snow on the ground and snowmaking at many mountains.
- Be prepared for winter driving conditions on Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday through the mountains. Snow tires = on!
- Snow amounts from Saturday night through Monday could be 5-20 inches, though it's too soon to figure out the details of where the higher and lower amounts will fall.
The reason that it's too soon to figure out the details of where the higher and lower snow amounts will fall is that the details of the storm are uncertain.
While we can be confident that there will be a storm moving over or close to Colorado on Sunday and Monday, we cannot be confident of the storm's exact path and the storm's exact shape.
In the maps below, I drew the shape of the storm that's predicted by three models.
An average of 51 versions of the European model bring the storm directly through Colorado and would likely produce the most snow over the southern and central mountains thanks to a wind direction from the southwest and west.
An average of 31 versions of the American model bring a slightly weaker storm through central and northern Colorado and would likely produce the most snow over the central and northern mountains thanks to a wind direction from the west and northwest.
An average of 21 versions of the Canadian model tracks a slower-moving storm south and west of Colorado and would likely make the forecast much trickier with some mountains still picking up significant snow but with lower confidence in the forecast.
There are a few other models as well, and most of them show a forecast closer to the European and American models with the storm *not* slowing and tracking to the south of Colorado, which is what the outlier Canadian model is showing. If we are rooting for more snow for more mountains, we are generally rooting against the Canadian model's forecast.
Averaging many models and many versions of the models, our forecast system is producing significant snow across the western US with 1-2 foot totals at many spots which you can see in our US Powder Finder map.
And bringing that closer to home, our forecast system is generally going for 5-20 inches in Colorado with the deepest totals in the central and southern mountains. You can see this in our Colorado Powder Finder map.
In the grand scheme of things, one early-season storm does not make or break our season, but the upside to this storm will be cooler temperatures which will support snowmaking, and if a few regions of Colorado wind up getting 12+ inches of snow, it'll be a start toward building our winter base, and making turns will be possible on grassy slopes.
We just updated our apps and website with the ability for you to get a forecast for any location (on land) across the globe, and you can save any of these "Custom Locations" as a favorite.
Get started by tapping any location on the Map, or learn more about Forecast Anywhere in this short how-to article.
Being able to get the forecast and save points as "Custom Locations" means that you can use our forecast data for any place you'd like to go - for backcountry skiing, camping, or even to see how much we think it'll snow in your backyard :-) Also, your Custom Locations are private and no other OpenSnow users will be able to see the Custom Locations that you create.
Forecast Anywhere is available on our website and the latest versions of our iOS and Android apps.
Please check out this new feature and let us know what you think!
Upcoming In-Person Presentations
Join me for in-person presentations this fall. These talks are fun (yes, powder science IS fun:-), and I'll discuss thoughts about the upcoming season and snow forecasting tips and tricks. Also, your attendance at many of these talks supports a local non-profit, so thank you for coming!
- Wed, Oct 26. Denver. Bug Theater (3654 Navajo St)
600pm Doors Open
700pm Presentation by Joel Gratz (and likely a ski move, too!)
Raffle tickets sold to support SOS Outreach
- Thu, Nov 3. Boulder. Neptune Mountaineering (633 S Broadway)
630pm Doors Open
700pm Presentation by Joel Gratz
Raffle tickets sold to support SOS Outreach
- Wed, Nov 9. Golden. Powder7 (880 Brickyard Cir)
700pm Doors Open
730pm Presentation by Joel Gratz
- Fri, Dec 9. Basalt.
Tentative date...standby for confirmation.
With storms in the forecast, I will now be posting daily updates. Welcome back, winter:-)
Thanks so much for reading!