Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be dry with some high clouds filtering the sunshine and high temperatures in the 20s. Then from Sunday night through Monday night, most mountains will see snow with lower totals (2-6 inches?) and some softer turns possible on Monday. After that, there might be snow around February 9-11 (low confidence) and there should be more snow the next week (high confidence).
Short Term Forecast
Thursday was a gorgeous day with mostly sunny skies and on-mountain high temperatures generally in the 20s. This was the view on Thursday at Purgatory, in the southern mountains, just north of Durango, looking out to the northeast.
The weather on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be more of the same with dry conditions, mostly sunny skies, and comfortable high temperatures in the 20s. The caveats to the forecast include cold temperatures in the morning at some valleys (temperature inversion), slightly cooler high temperatures on Saturday compared to Sunday, more clouds filtering the sky on Friday night into early Saturday and Saturday night into Sunday, and breezy conditions on Sunday ahead of the next storm.
Speaking of the next storm, the system from Sunday night through Monday night will split as it crosses the Rockies, though a combination of adequate storm energy and the jet stream overhead will be enough to deliver some snow.
Since the factors that will create snow are just adequate and not strong, I have been expecting just low-to-moderate snow totals, and indeed our in-house modeling is suggesting snow totals in the 3-6 inch range with a chance for a few higher totals.
Below are two versions of our high-resolution forecast model for Colorado, showing snowfall from Sunday night through Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. With the storm still three days away, I look less at the specific location of the snow amounts and more at the general pattern of the snowfall.
For higher-end snow totals, I am keeping an eye on Cuchara in the southeastern mountains as winds from the northeast on Monday night can help that area see double-digit totals (we don't see this on the "Version #2" of our model as its forecast ends on Monday afternoon and the northeast winds in the Cuchara area won't start until Monday night).
For timing, it looks like we will see snow start before daybreak on Monday morning with snow through a lot of the day on Monday, so there should be some powder on Monday, likely not enough to create a real powder day, but perhaps enough to create fun conditions on top of the groomers and on softer, north-facing slopes.
Following the storm from Sunday night to Monday night, we could see dry weather on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then something might happen later in the week around Thursday and Friday and perhaps into Saturday (February 9-11). This 'something' could take the form of a storm from the southwest lifting north and east and hitting Colorado, or a new system could track into Colorado from the west, or there's about a 50% chance that neither of these things happen and we get no snow.
The graphic below shows little consistency across the 51 versions of the model during the February 9-11 timeframe, so we'll need to wait and see.
Looking out to the following week, about February 13-17, we have been keeping an eye on this week as most model versions show an active pattern across the western U.S., though we are still light on specifics. The latest forecast data is now hinting that there could be a higher chance for snow earlier in the week and again later in the week with maybe a break in between. But we are still over seven days away from the start of this active pattern and confidence in the details continues to be low.
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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