Colorado Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest Colorado Daily Snow

By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 3 months ago January 4, 2024

The first two storms will bring snow from Thursday to Sunday

Summary

From Wednesday night to Thursday afternoon, the first storm will deliver 1-10 inches of snow to the southern mountains. Then from Friday morning to Saturday midday, a second storm will bring 2-8 inches to the northern and central mountains. And after that, at least two additional storms will bring more snow into next week. It's nice to be back on the storm train!

Short Term Forecast

From Wednesday night to now on Thursday morning, a storm is tracking south of Colorado and spinning snow into the southern mountains.

The radar animation shows that most of the snow is in New Mexico, though more snow is falling in Colorado than what appears on radar because radar coverage is poor across our southern mountains.

On Wednesday night, Purgatory picked up 3 inches on their snow stake.

Also on Wednesday night, it appears that the mountains around Wolf Creek received 2-4 inches of snow. I am basing this on our new "Live Snow" feature which tracks or estimates snow from weather stations.

In the case of Wolf Creek, there are four SNOTEL weather stations within 20 miles of the mountain, and we estimate that between 2-4 inches of snow accumulated at these stations between midnight and sunrise on Thursday morning. Here's the direct link to the new Weather Stations tab for Wolf Creek.

Below is my forecast for the next few days:

  • Thursday, January 4: In addition to the 2-4 inches that have already fallen in the southern part of the southern mountains, we could see 2-6 more inches across the south with the higher amounts farther to the south and lower amounts farther to the north. Non-southern mountains could see snowflakes in the air though accumulations should be low.

  • Friday, January 5: On the backside of Thursday's storm, colder air from the northwest will bring snow showers to the northern and central mountains and the northern San Juans (Telluride, Silverton) and we could see a coating to 3 inches by the end of the day. Temperatures will be cooler, in the teens.

  • Saturday, January 6: We could see low-end powder by Saturday morning across the northern and central mountains as most of the recent high-resolution forecast models show 3-8 inches of snow with a lot of this falling on Friday night through early Saturday. This amount of snow on top of a firm base will not make 'soft-on-soft' conditions, but it should be fun to ride on groomed terrain. Temperatures will be in the teens.

Below is the forecast for total snowfall from Wednesday night to Saturday midday, and most of the higher-resolution models show similar numbers with 2-10 inches across the south on Thursday and 3-8 inches across the northern and central mountains from Friday into Saturday.

Following drier weather on Saturday evening, the next storm will arrive on Saturday night with intense snow for the southern mountains late on Saturday night into Sunday morning.

  • Sunday, January 7: The southern mountains could see significant snow with potential powder during the day. Other mountains will likely see a few inches or less.

  • Monday, January 8: Snow ends for the southern mountains with close to or above double-digit amounts for the southern part of this area, and snow continues east of the divide. Other spots may only see a few inches. Temperatures will be chilly, in the single digits and teens.

And there will be more storms after this one...

Extended Forecast

Tuesday, January 9 could be a drier day as we'll be in between storms.

Then the next storm should bring snow starting Tuesday night or early Wednesday and the snow may continue into Thursday. The early signs for this storm indicate that it could provide significant snow to all mountains, with potential powder on Wednesday or Thursday

The total precipitation forecast from today, Thursday, January 4 through next Friday, January 12, shows that double-digit snow totals are likely for all mountains. Each storm may favor a different area, but the total amount of snow could be solid for all mountain ranges.

Looking at the longer-range outlook, beyond the storm next Wednesday, January 10 into Thursday, January 11, there will be additional chances for snow and cold air through the middle of January. That's still 7+ days away, so we'll wait and see how the forecast shapes up before digging into any of the details.

Description: The graphic above shows 51 versions of the European ensemble model on the y-axis (vertical) and 15 days from left to right on the x-axis (horizontal). Each colored rectangle shows a chance for precipitation, with grey equaling little precipitation, green equaling light precipitation, and blues and oranges showing significant precipitation. The more the colors are aligned vertically, the higher the confidence in the forecast.

We have been (im)patiently waiting for snow during the last few weeks, and it looks like the atmosphere will reward us with multiple storms during the next 10 days. It's about time:-)

Thanks for reading!

Joel Gratz

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Geography Key

Northern Mountains
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

Central Mountains
Aspen, Snowmass, 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

About Our Forecaster

Joel Gratz

Founding Meteorologist

Joel Gratz is the Founding Meteorologist of OpenSnow and has lived in Boulder, Colorado since 2003. Before moving to Colorado, he spent his childhood as a (not very fast) ski racer in eastern Pennsylvania.

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