Colorado Daily Snow

Friday pow in the northern mountains

Summary

Snow began to fall in the northern mountains on Thursday at midnight, and as of Friday at 6 am there is already 1-6 inches of accumulation, with another 4-8 inches likely to fall throughout the day on Friday. Then, the weather on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday will be mostly dry. Next week, we’ll see a weak system on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. A strong storm should bring significant snow to all of Colorado from later Friday through later Saturday (January 19-20) with an active (stormy) pattern continuing through the end of January.

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Short Term Forecast

All of us are much happier when it’s snowing, am I right?!

At Telluride, in the southern mountains, there was over a foot of snow from the storm on Wednesday and Wednesday night, and finally, the snowpack is starting to build. Here is a picture from Thursday.

Thursday was a fun powder day across Colorado with most mountains receiving 4-8 inches and up to about a foot in some spots.

Following a lull in the snow on Thursday afternoon and evening, the next storm brought flakes to the northern mountains starting around Thursday at midnight.

Between Thursday midnight and Friday at 6 am, here is how much snow has fallen in the northern and central mountains (some of these numbers are my estimates based on webcams because not all mountains report “overnight” snow totals):

Arapahoe Basin - 6”
Breckenridge - 5"
Loveland - 5”

Copper - 4”
Winter Park - 4”
Eldora - 3”
Steamboat - 3”
Beaver Creek - 1”
Cooper - 1”
Keystone - 1”
Monarch - 2”
Vail - 1-2”

There was a band of intense snow that sat over Arapahoe Basin and Loveland before sunrise on Friday, and this resulted in a fluffy 5-6 inches. The snow stake cam at Arapahoe Basin is looking good!

For the northern mountains on Friday, there is much more snow to come. Expect snow to continue through the day on Friday with 4-8 additional inches.

This is a “Northwest flow” event, and northwest flow is a fickle beast, hence a few areas near the divide (Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge) getting 5-6 inches overnight while Keystone, in between this areas, picked up about an inch. Expect variability like this to continue on Friday, and I hope the variations balance out and all mountains see good totals by Friday evening. It’s possible that after about 9-10am on Friday, the wind direction will shift from the west-northwest to northwest, and temperatures will cool slightly, and this might change which northern mountains see the most snow during the midday and afternoon.

Here is the forecast from the CAIC 2km WRF model:

From Steamboat in the far north, to I-70, and east to the divide, the northern mountains should have a great powder day on Friday. Enjoy!

On Friday night, most of the snow in the northern mountains will come to an end, but there might be a few fluffy inches that fall after last chair Friday through Friday evening, so you might find additional fluff on Saturday morning.

The snow quality on Friday in the northern mountains should be superb – a soft base due to the snow on Wednesday and Wednesday night, and then moderately fluffy to very fluffy snow falling on Friday (windier areas will see thicker, denser snow).

Looking further ahead, the forecast for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday is for dry weather with perhaps a few snow showers lingering over the northern divide from I-70 to Wyoming (around Berthoud Pass north to Cameron Pass).

Extended Forecast

We will see two weak storms next week.

The first storm will deliver a few flakes to the eastern mountains on Tuesday.

The second storm will deliver anywhere from zero to a few inches of snow to some mountains of Colorado on Wednesday. My confidence is as low as it can be with this storm and I have no clue about the details. Stay tuned.

Then, I have high confidence that we’ll see a significant storm beginning later on Friday and continuing into Saturday. Most mountains will receive healthy snowfall and a powder day on Saturday, January 20th is likely. Yes, this is a 7-8 day forecast, so we shouldn’t get overconfident about this prediction, but there is remarkable consistency in all models showing this storm, so there is a very good chance that this forecast will come true.

The map below shows that Colorado should have above average precipitation from January 19-25th. Good news!

Following the storm on next Friday/Saturday, we should see an active pattern through the rest of January. That does NOT mean it will snow every day, but we should at least get a storm to move close to or over Colorado every few days, so I think snow conditions toward the end of the month will be in very, very good shape.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pow!

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

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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