Colorado Daily Snow

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Significant storm cycle on the way


Saturday and Sunday will be mainly dry and mainly sunny. Then a five-day storm cycle will bring snow every day next week with up to 3-4 feet of accumulation for some southern mountains and at least 10 inches for all mountains. After that, we'll see another storm during the weekend of March 25-26 and yet another storm around March 29-30.

Short Term Forecast

Friday was a gorgeous day with mostly sunny skies for most of Colorado and lingering snow showers over the southern mountains.

Now on Saturday morning, skies are mostly clear and the temperatures are cold with upper-elevation readings between about -10°F to +5°F. The infrared satellite image on Saturday morning shows areas of blue that are not moving over Colorado. These areas of blue are not clouds but rather the satellite sensing the temperature of the cold ground. The blue colors show spots that are about -5°F and colder.

Saturday and Sunday will be mostly dry and mostly sunny. The only wrinkles in the forecast will be a few snow showers over the southern mountains each midday and afternoon, and chilly temperatures each morning. The high temperature on Saturday will be in the teens, and the high temperature on Sunday will be in the 20s. The high sun angle of March will make each day's high temperatures feel warmer than what the thermometer shows.

For next week, we will see a five-day storm cycle that will bring snow every day from Monday through Friday. Snow totals will range from 10-15 inches in some northeastern mountains to 3-4 feet in some southern and western mountains.

The animated map below shows the weather pattern for the upcoming storm cycle, and blue colors denote stormier and colder weather. The system will move through in multiple waves next week, with the most snow for most mountains falling from Wednesday into Thursday. And even as the storm cycle ends, we can see yet another storm arriving around Saturday, March 25th, so we might see snow for seven straight days from March 20-26, with a few days of dry weather during the following week (March 27-28).

An early look at the forecast for precipitation shows no significant changes compared to the multi-model average forecast that I've shown during the last few days.

From Monday to Friday, storm total snowfall of 3-4 feet is likely in the far southern mountains and the far western mountains, with 15-30 inches likely for most other southern and central mountains, and likely closer to 10-15+ inches for many northern mountains.

The snow will not fall in one continuous blanket but rather will come in waves.

The first wave will bring snow from Monday morning to Tuesday morning with southern-mountain powder on Monday afternoon and powder for all mountains by Tuesday morning.

The second wave will bring snow from Tuesday night to Thursday morning with the southern and central mountains maybe seeing deep powder on Wednesday throughout the day and also on Thursday morning, and the northern mountains having some powder late Wednesday and early Thursday. 

Then a final wave of snow showers on Thursday and Friday could favor the northern and central mountains.

The snow quality from this storm cycle should be pretty good, with relatively denser snow from Monday to Wednesday, then relatively fluffier snow from later Wednesday to Friday.

And if all of that weren't enough, right on the heels of the Monday-to-Friday storm cycle, another storm should bring snow during the weekend of March 25-26.

Extended Forecast

The 15-day forecast overview for central Colorado shows the five-day storm cycle from March 20-24, then another storm during the weekend of March 25-26, then perhaps a few dry days around March 27-28 before another storm arrives sometime around March 29-30.

I have no idea what April will bring, but we'll think about that later as most of the rest of March will be snowy here in Colorado.

Thanks for reading!

Joel Gratz


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