On Tuesday and Tuesday night, cold temperatures and snow showers delivered 1-2 inches of snow to the northern and central mountains with up to 7-8 inches at Steamboat. Wednesday and Thursday will bring more showers with light accumulations. Then a storm from Friday to Saturday should favor the far northern mountains, and another storm around Jan 30 - Feb 1 should favor the southern mountains.
Short Term Forecast
Tuesday and Tuesday night delivered cold temperatures (single digits) and snow showers to the northern and central mountains, as well as the northern part of the southern mountains (Silverton, Telluride).
Snow totals as of Wednesday morning are in the 1-2 inch range, which was within our low-end expectations.
The exception occurred at Steamboat where their overperforming season continues. As of Wednesday morning, Steamboat's mid-mountain snow stake shows 7 fluffy inches, and its summit snow stake shows about 8 inches.
Heading into the snow showers on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we were expecting 2-7 inches, and that should be right for most mountains. However, Steamboat has already reached the high end of the range, so they will go over by at least a few inches.
Below is the forecast snowfall on Wednesday, Wednesday night, and Thursday, with light amounts for most mountains and 6+ inches of additional snow for areas well north of I-70.
Temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will remain very cold with highs in the 5-15°F range.
Next storm Friday and Saturday
Following drying weather later Thursday into Thursday night, the next storm will bring snow from Friday through Saturday.
Yesterday, we talked about how most forecast models showed significant snow for far northern Colorado (north of I-70) while the American GFS model kept the snow north of Colorado. We also talked about how, when most models are in agreement and the American GFS model is the outlier, it often happens that the American GFS model turns out not to be correct.
Today, the American GFS model switched its song and fell in line with the other models. Now, there is reasonable model agreement that Friday and Saturday will bring the most snow to mountains well north of I-70. In the images below (top = European model, bottom = American GFS model), I am focusing on the snowfall pattern and not the exact numbers, as the numbers will continue to be adjusted until just before the storm's arrival.
The bottom line for Friday and Saturday is that areas closest to the Wyoming border should see the most snow, with possible powder on Friday and a higher likelihood for powder on Saturday. Also, the geographic line between a lot of snow and little snow could be sharp, so we'll continue to watch this storm closely and see if we can fine-tune the forecast during the next two days.
Looking beyond the far northern mountain storm on Friday into Saturday, there could be a brief period of dry weather on Sunday into Monday, then it's likely that our next storm will be around Monday, January 30 to Wednesday, February 1.
The storm between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1 may target the southern mountains with the most snow, and it's also possible that the storm will track a little too far south of Colorado to bring us significant snowfall.
Looking into early February, there is a weak signal for a storm around the first weekend of February, but we really have no clue what's going to happen as there is no consensus among the 51 versions of the European model (above), the 31 versions of the American GEFS model (not shown) or the 21 versions of the Canadian GEPS model (not shown). So we'll wait and see and hope for the best.
Thanks for reading!
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