Colorado Daily Snow
By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago December 7, 2023
Today (Thursday) will be mostly dry and partly to mostly cloudy with a high in the 20s. The next storm will bring snow from early Friday morning through late Friday night and I still think that 4-8 inches is the most reasonable forecast with the highest chance for these totals in the west-northern mountains as well as the central mountains. After that, our next chance for snow will be on Thursday.
Short Term Forecast
Wednesday was mostly sunny and very warm with high temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Thankfully, the low December sun angle is helping to keep our snow around.
Thursday (today) will bring more clouds and also cooler temperatures with highs in the 20s. This cool air is oozing into Colorado in advance of the next storm.
The next storm will bring snow from early Friday morning to late Friday night.
Early on Friday morning, an initial wave of snow will move through, with the highest chance for a quick 2-5 inches in the west-northern mountains (Vail and Beaver Creek) and the central mountains around Sunlight and the Aspen area. Other mountains could/should see some snow from this early Friday wave, though perhaps lower amounts.
From Friday midday through Friday evening, additional snow showers will fire up and move from west-to-east or northwest-to-southeast across the state, and luck will play a role in which mountains see just a coating to 2 inches versus other mountains which could see 2-5 additional inches of snow.
The main message is that Friday's conditions should become softer throughout the day, and this new snow will be fluffy due to light winds and cold temperatures.
On Friday night into Saturday morning, snow showers should wane as we lose moisture, though the exception is the lower foothills and adjacent plains just west and southwest of Denver, where a band of more intense show (due to upslope flow from the east) could deliver at least a few inches of snow starting just after Friday at sunset.
Total snowfall in the 4-8 inch range still looks reasonable based on the latest high-resolution OpenSnow and CAIC models. Notice that the northern San Juan mountains, around Telluride and Silverton, will be on the southern edge of the snowfall, so uncertainty for this area is high.
For the best snow, Friday will offer softer turns throughout the day with fluffy snow and chilly temperatures in the teens (though winds will be light), and Saturday should offer soft turns in the morning due to Friday's leftovers or perhaps new terrain that opens, and temperatures will be cold on Saturday with highs in the upper single digits to low teens.
The longer-range outlook is still pretty "meh" with no consistent storm cycles in sight, but there will be at least some action.
The best chance for snow in the next week will be on Thursday, December 14, when a rogue storm, swirling over the southwestern U.S., tracks to the northeast and will likely clip the southern mountains with some snow (Purgatory and Wolf Creek favored).
Other than that, we'll need to look far ahead for the chance of a storm in the December 18-22 window.
And even further ahead, the ultra-long-range forecast models show that our "meh" weather pattern will continue through most of December, with a higher chance for a stormier period sometime around late December or early January. I do not trust forecast trends beyond about 10 days, but I wanted to share what the longer-range models were showing, even if it is out in "fantasy land".
Thanks for reading!
Please join me at my last community talk of this early season. I'll discuss the season ahead and new weather forecasting technology and answer all of your questions as best as possible. I'll also hand out OpenSnow swag:-) Let's get excited for winter to return!
- Friday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Angry James Brewing in Silverthorne. Organized by and supporting the Keystone Ski Patrol.
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
Feature highlight of the week: Create Custom Snow Alerts
Stay up-to-date and never miss another powder day with custom snow reports and forecast alerts for your favorite ski resorts.
- Go to any ski resort screen.
- Tap the three-dot menu in the upper right.
- Tap "Add Alert".
- Set your 24-hour snow report and/or forecast threshold.
You can also go to Settings > Notifications > Report & Forecast Alerts in the OpenSnow app to edit any snow alert that you have already created.
Get Started → Add Snow Alerts