On Sunday night, the far southern mountains received about 6 inches. On Monday, snow accumulations will continue in the south and be light elsewhere. On Monday night & Tuesday, all mountains will see snow and colder air and there should some powder to enjoy on Tuesday. After this system, our next chances for light snow are Thursday into Friday and December 1-2.
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Short Term Forecast
On Sunday afternoon and Sunday night, moderate snow fell in the far southern mountains and snow showers even coated the ground at spots in the central and northern mountains.
Below are snow totals from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning at 600am.
7" Wolf Creek Ski Area
6" Wolf Creek Summit SNOTEL
6" Bearthtown SNOTEL (near Silverton)
1" Many Central & Northern Mountains
The notable thing about Sunday night's snow is that temperatures were warm, near freezing at around 10,000 feet, so this new snow is thick/heavy.
Still, it's fun to see new snow.
At Wolf Creek Pass, the CDOT cam showed the snow falling at night. I love cams with lights next to them so that we can enjoy watching grainy images of snow when it's dark.
At the summit of Copper Mountain, the scene on Monday morning looks a little more like winter with moisture (clouds) around and an inch of new snow.
On Monday, we'll continue to see warm temperatures and snow showers with a wind from the southwest. The best chance for accumulations is in the far southern mountains with scattered showers elsewhere.
On Monday night through Tuesday morning, the main storm energy will move across Colorado and this is when most mountains will see the best chance for steady and intense snow.
On Tuesday late morning through afternoon, the storm will be strengthening to our east and wrap-around northwest flow should keep snow showers going over the northern mountains with additional accumulations.
Forecasting snow amounts for the northern mountains from the wrap-around northwest flow is usually a crapshoot. Sometimes the showers over produce, and sometimes we see little snow.
One tie-breaker that I try to use to see if these northwest flow snow showers will be productive is if the storm will strengthen as it moves over and east of Colorado. A strengthening storm, even when it is past us to the east, sometimes leads to decent accumulations in the wrap-around flow.
For this storm, it will strengthen as it moves to our east.
The first image shows the storm to our west and there is NO circular contour (black line) which means the storm is a bit weak.
As the storm moves to our east, you'll see the presence of a circular contour (black line) which shows that the storm is a little stronger.
So, how much snow? I'll stick with my 5-10 inch forecast for most mountains with 12-24 inches in the high-elevation, far southern mountains (Wolf Creek, Silverton). The best powder should be on Tuesday though remember, aside from Wolf Creek (which is nearly 100% open) and Silverton (open on Nov 25 but just for heli drops), most mountains have little terrain open with a thin base, so keep expectations in check.
The snow coming from this storm is important and useful of course, but I am also happy to see cooler temperatures that will help crews to make more snow.
Wed: Upper 20s
Thu: Lower 20s
Looking ahead toward Thanksgiving, Wednesday should be dry, then we'll see a weak storm around Thursday night into Friday. The most likely scenario is that this system should bring just a coating to a few inches of snow. The storm will split as it moves toward Colorado and the storm will lack moisture. Neither of these factors makes me excited for deep accumulations.
Looking ahead into early December, there will be chances for snow around December 1-2 and around December 6-8. At this point, both storms look weak and insignificant.
Unfortunately, we might have to endure a rather dry first and even second week of December. I will keep an eye on the longer-range forecast for the second half of December because that time continues to show up in the models with a more active, stormy pattern.
Thanks for reading!
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