On Thanksgiving, we have a bit of fresh snow that will be waiting for us in the morning. Our next chance for a few inches of snow will be on Saturday night. Then a stronger storm should bring deeper snow totals around Tuesday, November 29, with yet another storm possible during the first few days of December.
Short Term Forecast
Wednesday night's storm dropped 1-2 inches across the northern mountains, in the Aspen area, and the east winds brought 2 inches to Wolf Creek in the southern mountains. These totals were on the lower end of my expectations. Despite the storm strengthening as it moved over Colorado, it seems that snowfall was limited by the low amount of moisture in the air.
One area of the state that should have more snow is over the southeastern mountains. I think 5-8 inches of snow has or will fall by midday Thursday for areas like Cuchara, the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and areas just east of Wolf Creek.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
The next three days will be dry. Thursday morning's clouds should clear with sunshine by later in the day, then we'll see mostly sunny skies on Friday and Saturday. On Friday and Saturday, temperatures will be warmer, with readings in the 30s.
Saturday night snow
Another fast-moving storm will bring light snow on Saturday night. Compared to the storm on Wednesday night, this system will be weaker but have more moisture, so perhaps we'll wind up again with low-single-digit snowfall totals.
Both the high-resolution OpenSnow model and the high-resolution CAIC model show about the same amount of snow, between 1-3 inches for many central and northern mountains.
With a bit of new snow on Saturday night, there should be a few softer turns on Sunday morning.
There should be at least one stronger storm in the longer-range forecast.
From later Sunday through Monday, the far northern mountains near and north of Steamboat could see some snow, but for the most part, we'll see dry weather.
Then from Monday night through Tuesday evening, all mountains will get snow as a moderately-strong storm moves across the state. An early look at a multi-model average precipitation forecast yields 3-6 inches for many mountains and 6-12 inches for mountains that are farther west and south.
The timing of the storm means that Tuesday will likely offer the most powder and softest conditions, with snowfall waning by Tuesday night when moisture decreases and temperatures get very cold, likely dropping to near or colder than 0°F.
The longer-range models are showing another system moving through the Rockies sometime during the first few days of December. This early-December storm could do anything – go north, track over us, or cut off to our south. But at least it's a possibility.
And speaking of possibilities, there's another chance for a storm in the December 6-8 time frame. Hopefully, these next few systems at least deliver moderate snow which could help the backcountry get deeper (check the avalanche forecast!) and allow resorts to open more terrain.
Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading!
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.
And, "Custom Locations" are private and no other OpenSnow users will be able to see the "Custom Locations" that you create.
You can learn more about Forecast Anywhere in this short how-to article.
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