Colorado Daily Snow
By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 3 months ago November 28, 2023
The dry and calm weather will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then a storm with two phases could bring snow to Colorado from Thursday to Monday. The first phase from Thursday to Saturday should favor the western and southern mountains, and the second phase from Saturday to Monday could favor the western and northern mountains.
Short Term Forecast
While our statewide snowpack is still well below the median for this date, we still have snow on the mountains, we are making turns, and here's a 'winter stoke photo' sent in by a reader showing Capitol Peak in the central mountains.
Weatherwise, we are in a calm period during the early part of the week. The national radar animation on Tuesday morning shows lake-effect snowfall over the Great Lakes region, and otherwise, there is not much going on.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be dry days with high temperatures in the 20s. For cloud cover, Tuesday will be mostly sunny, and then on Wednesday, high clouds will filter the sunshine.
The next storm will bring a chance for snow from Thursday, November 30, to Monday, December 4. This storm will move through in two phases, with the first phase from Thursday to Saturday favoring the western and southern mountains, and the second phase from Saturday to Monday favoring the western and northern mountains.
I still have low confidence in the detailed precipitation/snow forecast, mainly because there will be multiple pieces to this storm and there is not yet agreement about the exact track and timing of each piece of the storm.
Below is a multi-model average precipitation forecast from Thursday to Monday. The areas in the orange have a decent chance of receiving 12+ inches of snow, areas in blue are more likely to be in the 6-12 inch range, and areas in green are more likely to be in the 3-6 inch range. In this case, 'west is best', or in other words, mountains that are farther to the west will have the best chance for higher snow totals due to a favorable wind direction during a longer duration.
While the snowpack is still thin and terrain is mostly still very limited, from a powder perspective, there could be some in the southern and western mountains from later Thursday through Saturday, and then the northern and western mountains would be favored for more snow from Saturday through Monday.
This storm will likely not bring our statewide snowpack up to the median, but it will help us to meaningfully chip away at our deficit, especially if the second phase of the storm delivers at or above the high end of expectations for the northern mountains. The second phase of the storm might bring a lot of moisture, favorable temperatures, and the right track of storm energy to drop decent snow on the northern mountains (maybe more than is shown in the image above) and I will be watching for this.
The longer-range forecast still shows a high chance for at least a couple of days of drier and warmer weather during the middle of next week, roughly from Tuesday, December 5 to Thursday, December 7.
After that, there is about a 50/50 chance that another storm will bring snow during the December 8-10 timeframe. This possible storm from December 8-10 is not a lock, with only about 50% of the versions of each forecast model showing the system.
The overall weather pattern from about December 8 through mid-December is not one that is favorable for consistent storms across the Rockies and here in Colorado, and hopefully, luck will be on our side, and at least one or two decent systems will happen to track near or over Colorado during this time.
Thanks for reading!
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