We'll see snow from Saturday afternoon through Monday evening. A reasonable average across the state should be 3-6 inches, though we could see 10+ inches in a few spots based on favorable wind directions at various times. After that, the next storm will bring snow from Friday, November 24 to Saturday, November 25, with possible snow showers continuing into the following week.
Short Term Forecast
On Thursday, we had a tiny refresh with 1-3 inches of snow falling across the northern half of Colorado. On the Grand Mesa, three inches did a nice job freshening the track.
Now on Saturday morning, the national radar shows precipitation entering the United States from the southwest and the west, and this is the storm that will bring us snow for about 48 hours between Saturday late afternoon and Monday late afternoon or evening.
In the radar image above, the precipitation over Arizona will be the first to reach us, with snow likely across Colorado starting on Saturday afternoon and lasting a few hours. This area of precipitation is rather intense and could generate a quick couple of inches for elevations near and above 9,000 feet from Saturday afternoon through Saturday evening.
While we might see snow showers on Saturday night and Sunday morning, it'll be from Sunday midday through Sunday night that the next part of the storm will move through with steadier precipitation. All mountains should see some snow, and the steadiest and deepest snow should occur over the southern mountains due to the storm energy taking a more southerly track.
Then the final part of the storm will occur from Monday morning through Monday evening when winds from the northeast, north, and northwest could generate at least a few inches of fluffier snow across the northern and eastern mountains.
Because this is a complex storm, moving through in multiple pieces, the chances for something to 'go wrong' with the forecast are pretty high, so I think it is wise to keep expectations low, even though the positive factors of a lot of moisture and a long-duration event could combine to create higher snow totals.
Two high-resolution snow forecast models below show roughly the same snowfall pattern but with much higher amounts on the bottom CAIC 2km model.
Again, I think 3-6 inches is a reasonable average estimate for snowfall from this storm, though if a few mountains see a few more intense cells, perhaps the average will increase to 4-8 inches, and there will be some locations where 10+ inches are possible.
These favored areas are likely to be the north side of the San Juans close to or just north of Telluride and Silverton due to the storm's track over this area as well as winds from the north, as well as some of the eastern mountains, such as Cuchara, due to some winds from the northeast.
And if we're lucky with the north-northwest winds on Monday, perhaps a few northern mountains will see higher-end single digits, such as around Winter Park and Berthoud Pass.
Aside from the snowfall, the storm will lower temperatures into the 20s on Sunday, Monday, and maybe Tuesday, and these colder temperatures should help snowmaking efforts.
For Thanksgiving week, the weather picture is becoming more clear.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be dry days with highs in the 20s and 30s.
Then the next storm will bring snow from Friday, November 24 to Saturday, November 25. Early signs show that this could be another 'moderate' storm with 3-6 or 4-8 inch snow totals, but we'll need to wait a few more days to figure out the details.
Following the system on November 24-25, it's possible that some storm energy could hang around during the final days of November and into early December, leading to more snow. At this point, I cannot pinpoint a time between November 26 to December 3 that looks more likely for steady snow, but at least there will be some storminess around, so maybe the atmosphere will flow in a way to keep the flakes flying.
Thanks for reading!
Please join me at one of these community talks. I'll discuss the season ahead and new weather forecasting technology, as well as answer all of your questions as best as I can. I'll also hand out OpenSnow swag:-) Let's get excited for winter to return!
- Thursday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Denver Athletic Club in downtown Denver. More details soon!
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- Friday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Angry James Brewing in Silverthorne. Organized by and supporting the Keystone Ski Patrol.
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Steamboat, 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, Snowmass, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains