Colorado Daily Snow

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By Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist Posted 1 month ago February 26, 2024

Powder and wind on Tuesday

Summary

Monday will be a mixed day with snow showers, gusty winds, dry weather, and some breaks of sunshine. Then I expect intense snow on Tuesday between sunrise and mid-afternoon. Forecast snow amounts have decreased a bit, but I still think that most mountains will be near or above 10 inches. Wednesday to Saturday will be dry, then the next storm should be Sun, Mar 3 to Mon, Mar 4.

Short Term Forecast

Sunday

Sunday was mostly sunny and warm-ish with a high of around 30-35°F.

Sunday Night

On Sunday night, the first wave of moisture associated with the incoming storm pushed across Colorado. Based on snow stake cams and automated snow measurements from weather stations, most mountains saw no snow or just a dusting, though a few spots received more snow, with about 2-3 inches around Crested Butte and Irwin in the central mountains.

This image shows snow totals from the last 12 hours (Sunday 5 pm - Monday 5 am). Here's a link to view this on our website (the weather station data will come to our apps soon).

Monday

Monday will be a mixed day. There will be clouds, some snow showers, and winds gusting to 40-50+ mph. We may also see some breaks of sunshine.

Monday Night

Snow will ramp up across the southern and central mountains starting between about 9 pm to midnight. And then the snow intensity should continue to increase through the night with snow spreading into the northern mountains.

Tuesday

The most intense snow from the storm should fall on Tuesday between about 5 am to 12 pm. This timing means that Tuesday morning snow reports may not be all that impressive (just a few inches) and then a lot of snow will fall after sunrise and through midday, so conditions should become deeper with each run.

In addition to the intense snow, wind gusts will be fast with speeds of 40-60mph, and this could impact lift operations, reduce visibility, and close some roads for a time on Tuesday morning.

By Tuesday afternoon, the steadiest and most intense snow should end, though we will continue to see snow showers with additional accumulations. Wind speeds should slow, but will still be gusty at times. Also, the temperature will decrease from around 20°F in the morning to around 10°F in the afternoon. 

On Tuesday evening, snow showers should wane. Lingering snow showers may produce a few inches of snow from late afternoon through the evening, and this could set up Wednesday morning to have some new snow on top of the soft snow from Tuesday.

Total Snowfall

The latest high-resolution forecast models have all decreased snow totals. I don't know why, as the overall shape and strength of the storm have not changed significantly.

I still think that average snowfall will be significant with 8-14 inches across the state. There should be some areas of 12-20+ inches, mostly in the west-central and southern mountains.

The latest multi-model average precipitation forecast looks like this:

For comparison, the previous multi-model average precipitation forecast looked like this:

We can also compare the latest multi-model average snow forecast:

To the previous one:

Again, I am not sure why the high-resolution models have decreased snow totals. These models only forecast out 1-3 days, so they were only incorporated into the multi-model blend in the last 24 hours or so, and this is why the multi-model blend has recently decreased.

It is mentally taxing to look at each model run and allow your emotions to ebb and flow as each run fluctuates lower and higher, so I generally try to focus on the big picture and not zig-zag the forecast as each new piece of data is released. Sometimes the forecast should change based on new data, which is why I lowered my expectations just a bit, and also, sometimes it's good to not make significant adjustments with each model run unless we see a trend in multiple model runs and understand why the trend exists.

To recap, Tuesday morning should bring intense snow with gusty winds and conditions getting deeper with each run in the morning. Then Tuesday afternoon and evening will transition from intense snow to snow showers, with snow ending on Tuesday night. Total snowfall should average 8-14 inches, and favored spots in the central and southern mountains should make it to 12-20+ inches.

Extended Forecast

Wednesday

Wednesday morning will be gorgeous with clear skies, cold temperatures near 0°F, and then rapidly warming temperatures which will rise into the low teens by around midday. Snow quality should be soft based on Tuesday's new snow, and any snow that accumulates on Tuesday night will be a bonus. Also, any terrain that did not open on Tuesday due to fast winds will be untouched on Wednesday morning.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Thursday to Saturday will be mostly sunny with high temperatures in the low 30s.

Longer Range

The next storm should deliver snow from Sunday, March 3 to Monday, March 4. The timing of this storm is still a bit in question, and at the moment I will pencil in the potential for powder on both Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.

Description: The graphic above shows 51 versions of the European EPS ensemble model (top) 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.

Following the storm from Sunday to Monday, we will likely see a few days of dry weather, and then there is a signal for another storm around Friday, March 8 to Sunday, March 10. I have lower confidence in the timing and strength of this storm, and we'll see how the models trend during the next few days.

My next update will be Tuesday morning.

Thanks for reading!

Joel Gratz

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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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