Colorado Daily Snow

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Snow Saturday night and Tuesday

Summary

Saturday will be dry and sunny, then on Saturday night, a fast-moving storm will bring a few inches of snow to many northern and central mountains. Sunday and Monday will be dry for most areas, then a stronger storm will bring snow on Tuesday with mostly single-digit totals and maybe a few spots hitting double digits. Then there could be a storm during the first few days of December.

Short Term Forecast

Friday was a gorgeous day with high temperatures in the 30s and Saturday will be another sunny and dry day with slightly cooler temperatures topping out in the upper 20s to low 30s.

Our next chance for snow will be on Saturday night as a fast-moving storm moves from northwest to southeast across Colorado. The latest forecasts are now mostly aligned with 1-3 inches for most northern, central, and southeastern mountains. With a lot of moisture in the air, there's a chance that a mountain or two hits the 5-inch mark, though this seems to be more of a wildcard.

The high-resolution CAIC model:

The high-resolution OpenSnow model.

Both of the high-resolution models above are telling the same story, which increases our confidence for 1-3 inches as an average and up to 5 inches for a few spots.

Since almost all of the snow should fall between Saturday at sunset and Sunday at sunrise, the conditions on Sunday morning's first chair should be soft-ish, at least on the groomers and any snow that's remained cold and not sun-affected. There could be a few snow showers that hang on through Sunday mid-morning, though most of the accumulating snow should be over pretty early in the day.

Extended Forecast

Sunday and Monday will be mostly sunny and dry days with high temperatures in the 20s.

Tuesday's storm is still on track, and while there is more agreement amongst the models concerning the storm's track, all of the models are still not exactly aligned.

The main adjustment in the forecast for Tuesday's storm is that now most models show a more northern storm track which means more snow for the northern and central mountains and less snow (compared to earlier forecasts) in the southern mountains.

Below is the latest multi-model average precipitation forecast.

I have moderate confidence that most mountains will see 3-8 inches and a few spots that are favored by some flavor of winds from the west could go above 8 inches, including Steamboat and the central mountains near and south of Aspen.

I have lower confidence about the timing of the storm as some models bring the most snow on Monday night into Tuesday morning and other models bring the most snow all day on Tuesday. This slight adjustment in the timing of the storm is the difference between heading out early on Tuesday to enjoy most of the powder or being patient and heading out Tuesday midday or afternoon as the snow gets deeper. Hopefully, the forecasts will coalesce in the coming days.

Beyond the Tuesday storm

Wednesday morning will start very cold with temperatures near zero, then temperatures will warm to around 20 degrees and the weather should be sunny and dry.

From Thursday, December 1 through early the following week, around Monday, December 5, there's a high chance that a storm or multiple storms will bring snow to Colorado. That said, every version of every model presents a slightly different outcome with some showing storms brushing by northern Colorado, others showing a slow-moving and high-moisture storm tracking from the southwest, and lots of options in between these scenarios.

There's not much to do at this point other than to wait until there is more of a consensus about the overall storm track in early December. One thing that I can say is that most versions of most models show a 12-24 hour period of a lot of moisture moving over Colorado, which means that there is a chance for significant snow in early December if other factors come together just right.

Thanks for reading!

Joel Gratz

Announcements

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.

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