Following what seemed like a continuous storm cycle in January, the snowpack across Colorado is well above the median and is rivaling one of the best seasons since 2000. Weatherwise, we will have mostly sunny and warmer conditions for the rest of this week and through the weekend. Then there will be a storm early next week, and there should be a storm the following week as well.
Short Term Forecast
Tuesday was a fun powder day. For the southern mountains, the snow continued for some of the day, and for the central and northern mountains, the sun came out following the snow on Monday into Monday night.
Below are two reader-submitted photos from Tuesday morning.
Temperatures on Tuesday morning were very cold, generally in the -10°F to 0°F range, though the temperatures moderated into the single digits and low teens (above zero) by late morning into midday.
As of January 31, 2023, our statewide snowpack is near or well above the 30-year median for nearly all areas across Colorado, with the highest numbers farther to the west and to the north.
In the graph below, we can see that our snowpack tracked the 30-year median through late December, then we have been on a rocketship ride upward from late December through all of January and we are now at 131% of the median snowpack.
Comparing this season to last season, this season is the winner so far. This season had a deeper snowpack through November and December, then we saw a lot of snow in late December and early January just like last season, and then importantly, the storms continued through January of this season while our snowpack flatlined through January of last season.
And now on February 1st, our snowpack is just a little deeper compared to where we were during the 2010-2011 season, which was one of the best seasons since the year 2000. If we are going to stay on pace with 2010-2011, we will need to keep the storm train going through early May!
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be dry. Temperatures will be cooler on Wednesday, then will be in the 20s from Thursday through Sunday. The sky should be mostly sunny for most of this time, though there could be high, thin clouds that filter the sunshine at times, especially on Friday into Saturday.
A reader emailed me a question a few days ago, asking why I often show the graphic below and do not write a deeper analysis of future weather patterns. My response is that there is a lot of noise and variability in the longer-range forecast, and while we could work through a detailed analysis of all the possible future scenarios, these scenarios usually change with each new model run every six or twelve hours, and I like to keep things a bit more general until we can get some clarity and model agreement about the upcoming pattern.
Thankfully, we are starting to get a little agreement about the upcoming pattern, at least through early next week.
The possible storm this weekend (February 4-5) is no longer and nearly every version of every model keeps us dry.
Then our next chance for snow should start sometime on Sunday night and continue through Monday night (February 5-7). At the moment, this storm looks like it'll be a middle-of-the-road system – not too weak, not too strong.
After next Tuesday, February 7, my confidence in the forecast decreases as there could be another storm later next week, though there is really no alignment among the ~100 major model versions.
Further into the future, there continues to be a medium to high chance for storminess during the following week, from February 13th onward, but of course, that's too far away for us to have any confidence in the details.
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