Colorado Daily Snow

Powder day & more on the way

Summary

On Thursday morning you’ll find fresh pow at most mountains with the deepest amounts in the south and west. Lingering snow on Thursday morning should end, then another storm will bring 4-8 inches to the northern mountains on Thursday night and Friday, so Friday will be another powder day in the north. This weekend and most of next week will be dry, then a significant storm should arrive on January 19-20th and there will likely be multiple storms to close out the final 10 days of January.

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Short Term Forecast

Thursday is a powder day for many mountains thanks to the fresh snow on Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Here are the totals:
Red Mountain Pass – 17” (between Telluride & Silverton)
Telluride – 11” (likely 1-2” more since Thursday 5 am)
Beaver Creek – 10” (official measurement, snow stake cam shows 7")
Steamboat – 10”
Wolf Creek – 10”
Purgatory – 9”
Snowmass – 7”
Crested Butte – 6” (FYI: this official measurement is not the snow stake cam)
Eldora – 6”
Sunlight – 6”
Winter Park – 6”
Breckenridge – 5”
Loveland – 5”
Vail – 5” (official measurement at mid-mountain, Blue Sky snow stake cam shows 8”)
Aspen Highlands – 4”
Aspen Mountain – 4”
Copper – 4”
Keystone – 4”
Powderhorn – 4” (nearby areas of the Grand Mesa received 10-12”)
Arapahoe Basin – 3”
Buttermilk – 3”
Monarch – 3”

Here are a few pictures that caught my eye.

Purgatory in southern Colorado during a break in the snow on Wednesday. That’s Engineer Mountain in the background.

Wolf Creek on Wednesday afternoon.

Telluride’s snow stake camera on Thursday morning at 6 am, showing 8-9 inches that fell between 4 pm on Wednesday and 6 am on Thursday.

The map below shows the increase in snow-water equivalent from Tuesday midday through Thursday morning. Multiply the numbers by 10-12 to estimate snowfall. Notice that the most snow fell in the southern mountains and areas that are further west, like Snowmass, Sunlight, and Steamboat.

The good of the forecast was that the northern part of the southern mountains (Telluride, Red Mountain Pass, etc) did exceptionally well, which aligned with the Wednesday afternoon/night forecast for northwest winds coupled with an area of storm energy (vorticity) going over this area. I was also excited to see the Grand Mesa pick up good amounts though surprised that Powderhorn didn’t get more.

The bad of the forecast was that the northwest flow didn’t deliver big amounts to the northern mountains on Wednesday night, though we still received up to 5 inches in spots (Vail Blue Sky, Loveland) and there are still some flakes coming down now early on Thursday morning. Northwest flow is a fickle beast … delivers for some and not for others.

The snow quality on Thursday should be right-side-up, meaning that dense snow fell early in the storm, then the most recent snow on Wednesday night was fluffier and colder.

Any lingering snow on Thursday morning should stop by mid-morning with perhaps 1-3 inches after the Thursday morning 5 am report for areas favored by northwest winds.

The next storm is already heading our way. It is the swirl just to the west of Washington State in the upper-left of the image below.

Expect snow to begin in the northern mountains late Thursday night and continue through early afternoon on Friday. Total amounts should be in the 4-8 inch range for the northern mountains.

As I wrote previously, the Friday 5 am snow reports might not look impressive as it will have only snowed for a few hours at that time. However, snow will continue after the Friday 5 am reports in the northern mountains, so expect more snow than the report when you ski on Friday. Conditions should be soft as it’ll be the third day with fresh snow. The snow quality might be a tad on the dense side due to slightly warming temperatures, but sometimes the snow during these types of storms can be surprisingly fluffy even with warming temperatures, at least at the higher elevations, so don’t be too picky – get out and ski on Friday.

Total snow amounts from Tuesday night through Friday evening might be in this range – all mountains will have good snow. I like when storms don’t play favorites.

Extended Forecast

I think most of this weekend and next week will be dry. The northern mountains may see clouds and snow showers, especially this weekend, but for the most part, accumulations should be minimal.

The next storm will likely arrive later on Friday into Saturday, January 19-20th. Most models agree that this will be a significant system, and that type of agreement is rare for an 8-day forecast so my confidence is higher than average this system.

The active pattern should continue from the 20th through the end of January with a few storms during this time.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pow!

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

Thanks so much to everyone that came to my talk in Frisco on Wednesday night! It was a packed house and of course, the mood was joyful since it was snowing:-)

Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, 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, 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

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