Tuesday will be dry and mostly sunny, then a sneaky storm will bring snow from Wednesday afternoon or evening through Thursday with a least a couple of inches for many mountains and perhaps a fun little powder day on Thanksgiving. Then our next chances for snow will be on Sunday, November 27 and around Tuesday, November 29.
Short Term Forecast
Thanks to the OpenSnow readers that send me pictures from around the state, especially from the air on clear days when we can get a view of our current snowpack.
Below is a view of Snowmass, from the west looking east.
Our snowpack looks healthy for this time in late November, but the data shows that state-wide, we have slipped to just a bit below the median snowpack and are sitting around 96% of the median. We saw a fast start to the season in early November but have since plateaued.
Two storms during the next few days should allow us to stop the sideways slide in our snowpack and potentially creep back toward the median.
Storm #1: Wednesday into Thursday
I did not see high odds for this storm, but the latest forecast models are coalescing around a sneakily strong system that will cross Colorado from north to south on Wednesday into Thursday.
Snow should begin on Wednesday afternoon in the far northern mountains, then snow will continue on Wednesday night and might linger for some areas all the way through Thursday (Thanksgiving).
Snow amounts will likely be in the 2-5 inch range and a wind from the northwest, north-northwest, and north will favor some mountains over others. This wind direction is often good for Winter Park, sometimes Loveland, sometimes Keystone and Breckenridge, sometimes Powderhorn, the northern San Juans around Ouray, and a final shot of winds from the north and north-northeast could bring more snow to Cuchara as well (southeast Colorado).
Our high-resolution OpenSnow model shows the potential, and this could even be underdone in a few spots as the storm will be strengthening as it crosses Colorado and this strengthening often leads to at least a little more snow than predicted.
The best time to enjoy the new flakes will be Wednesday's last chair for some northern mountains and more likely on Thursday morning and midday for more mountains.
Friday and Saturday
Both Friday and Saturday should be dry with post-storm temperatures warming back into the 30s for highs.
Storm #2: Sunday
Like Storm #1, the latest forecast models are trending toward more snow and not less snow for this Storm #2 (remember this favorable trend the next time you curse the models 'canceling' a storm:-). We should see at least a few inches of accumulation in the northern mountains near and north of I-70 from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon. Thus, conditions on Sunday could be on the softer side.
Looking ahead to next week, it is becoming increasingly likely that we'll see a significant storm around Tuesday, November 29. It's still too soon to lock in the details, but most forecasts show this system moving from southwest to northeast across Colorado. This storm track can produce decent snow for all mountains with deeper totals in the southern mountains.
Following the storm around November 29, it's likely that we'll have another chance for snow during the December 4-6 timeframe. While some forecasts show snow earlier than this, during the first few days of December, the average of many models is still pegging December 4-6 as the time with the highest chance for the next storm.
With two small storms in the forecast for the next six days and then a stronger storm early next week, I think our state-wide snowpack should climb back toward or above the median by early December.
Thanks for reading!
PS - I have two more in-person talks planned for early December. I hope to see you there, and maybe significant snow will return by these dates. Details below.
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!
- Tue, Dec 6. Summit County
- Presentation in the evening
- More details soon!
- Fri, Dec 9. Basalt (Bristlecone Mountain Sports)
- 700pm Doors Open & Refreshments
- 730pm Presentation by Joel Gratz
- Register here
- Proceeds benefit Roaring Fork Conservancy
New Feature: Forecast Anywhere
You can now get a forecast for any location (on land) across the globe, and you can save any of these "Custom Locations" as a favorite.
Any "Custom Location" comes with estimated 24-hour snowfall. This means that you can set a "Custom Location" for your favorite backcountry spot and get estimated snowfall and estimated snowfall history. Since most backcountry areas do not have snow measurement equipment located at that exact spot, this feature will be a useful way to get a general estimate of how much snow has fallen.
To set your first "Custom Location", make sure that you are using the latest version of our iOS or Android apps (this works on our website, too!), then go to the Map tab, tap any spot on the map, and you're on the way to creating your first "Custom Location". You can 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 :-) And remember that "Custom Locations" works worldwide, so if you're traveling to a spot on the globe where we don't have a resort-based forecast (we have forecasts for many spots outside the US), go ahead and set up a "Custom Location".
And the last note is that "Custom Locations" are private and no other OpenSnow users will be able to see the "Custom Locations" that you create.
Please check out this new feature and let us know what you think!
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
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains