Our snowpack is near a record level across Colorado, with more snow in the forecast. First, a cold storm will bring 3-6 inches from later Sunday to later Monday. Second, a stronger storm will deliver 6-12 inches from later Thursday to early Saturday. And third, a storm should deliver more snow from later Sunday, April 2 through Tuesday, April 4.
Short Term Forecast
For a snowpack update, I will agree with whoever wrote "❤️ 2023" on the Aspen Highlands snow stake because this has been an unbelievable season. Also, please do not mess around with the snow stakes (if you find them) as they provide all of us with super helpful information each day. But, if you are going to mess around with a snow stake, a positive message that does not disturb the measurement seems like a reasonable thing to do:-)
How good has this season been? Looking at the 114 SNOTEL stations in Colorado, the statewide average snow water equivalent (SWE) is nearly at a record level in the modern SNOTEL era (since 1987).
The only seasons with a higher SWE measurement on March 26 were 1992-1993, 1996-1997, and 2018-2019.
There are more moderate storms in the forecast, though there are a few dry and warm days in the forecast as well, so I do not think that we will actually set a record-high SWE in the next ~10 days. But the consistency of the storms this season plus the depth of the SWE in late March makes this one of a few very special seasons in the modern record.
Back to the forecast…
Saturday was cold with daytime highs between about 0°F to +10°F and the weather brought everything from breaks of sunshine to clouds to snow showers with a coating to one inch of accumulation.
Sunday will also be chilly with temperatures in the upper single digits to low teens as well as a mix of sunshine, clouds, and snow showers.
The next storm from Sunday afternoon to Monday evening will bring perhaps 3-6 inches of snow to many mountains. The storm's energy will be rather strong, but the airmass is cold and lacking moisture, so I am skeptical that we'll see high snow totals simply due to the lack of moisture. However, many models show a reasonable amount of snow (3-6 inches) from later Sunday through later Monday, and some models show the possibility of up to 10 inches of fluffy accumulation during this time.
Based on the variability in the models, I have low confidence about where the most snow could fall. Below are three high-resolution forecast models for snow from Sunday through Monday evening and they all tell a somewhat different story.
Based on the timing of this storm, the best chance for some powder will be on Monday with powder possible for the first run and more snow showers throughout the day.
We will have a two-day break in the storminess as Tuesday and Wednesday will bring dry weather and warmer daytime high temperatures in the upper-20s to mid-30s.
Then the next storm should arrive late on Thursday and continue through late on Friday. It is likely that the best powder will be on Friday with up to 6-12 inches in favored spots.
While the map above does not look too impressive, this storm will strengthen over eastern Colorado on Friday and wrap storm energy and moisture back into Colorado during the day on Friday. This setup often leads to upside surprises with more snow than is in the forecast, so I'll be closely watching Friday for a powder day that could be better than what is in the forecast and which also turns out deeper than what is shown on the Friday morning reports because of additional snow falling throughout the day.
The longer-range forecast gives us a brief break in the weather for most of Saturday, April 1 to Sunday, April 2. Then there should be another storm from later Sunday, April 2 to about Tuesday, April 4, and there could be yet another storm later that week around Friday, April 7 to Sunday, April 9.
This is the season that keeps on giving:-)
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