Colorado Daily Snow

Snow through Friday, multiple storms next week

Summary

The first part of the current storm dropped 2-10 inches on Wednesday and Wednesday night. The second part of the storm should deliver another 2-10 inches from Thursday through Friday, favoring the southern mountains but not completely ignoring the central and northern mountains either. Then we’ll see dry weather during the weekend. Next week, expect two storms with one early in the week and the other around Thanksgiving.

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Short Term Forecast

Recap of Wednesday and Wednesday Night

The forecast for Wednesday and Wednesday night worked out reasonably well with the deepest totals of 7-11 inches in the southern mountains and 1-4 inches in the central and northern mountains. Temperatures were warm and the deepest accumulations were over 8,000-9,000 feet as some rain mixed in at the lower base elevations

Below are the snow totals from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning.

Southern Mountains
Coal Bank Pass: 11”
Purgatory: 10” (estimate)
Silverton: 10” (estimate)
Wolf Creek: 10” (estimate)
Red Mountain Pass: 9”
Telluride: 7-8”

Central Mountains
Crested Butte: 4”
Aspen Highlands: 2”
Monarch: 1-2”
Aspen Mountain: 1”
Buttermilk: 1”
Snowmass: 1”

Northern Mountains
Arapahoe Basin: 4”
Eldora: 4”
Loveland: 4”
Beaver Creek: 3”
Breckenridge: 3”
Copper: 3”
Keystone: 3”
Vail: 3”
Winter Park: 3”
Steamboat: 2”

Another wave of snow on Thursday

We’ve talked about how this storm will push multiple waves of snow across Colorado. The first wave moved through on Wednesday. And now the second wave will move through on Thursday.

On early Thursday morning, the atmosphere is dumping snow on the southern mountains (1-inch-per-hour it looks like). The satellite image on Thursday morning shows the center of the storm rotating near Las Vegas and dark blues and greens moving north into southwest Colorado. The dark blue and green colors show high, cold cloud tops, and we can infer that they are thick clouds which are delivering heavy snow.

Snow accumulations on Thursday should favor the southern mountains with 5-10 inches while the central and northern mountains see 1-5 inches. The wave of snow should lighten and dissipate as it moves north across Colorado, hence the lower totals farther north.

Final wave of snow on Thursday night

The last part of the storm will bring a colder wind direction from the west and northwest, and this will transition the best chance for snow to the central and northern mountains. I have low confidence in the details, though all models show 2-6 inches in the central and northern mountains on Thursday night into Friday morning, and the wind direction from the northwest aligns with the model’s snow prediction.

Powder

On Thursday, the deepest totals will be in the southern mountains, though none of these mountains are open. In the northern mountains where some resorts are open, most of Wednesday’s snow fell during the day, so it won’t be fresh on Thursday morning, however, the additional wave of snow on Thursday should bring some flakes during the day.

On Thursday night and Friday morning, the northern mountains are favored for snow, so you’ll likely find some fresh snow on Friday morning.

Openings

These mountains announced openings this weekend.

Aspen Mountain – Opening for the season on Sat, Nov 23
Beaver Creek – Opening for the season on Sat, Nov 23
Snowmass – Opening for the season on Sat, Nov 23
Purgatory – Opening for the season on Sat, Nov 23
Wolf Creek – Opening for the weekend on Sat, Nov 23

Extended Forecast

Friday night through Sunday should be dry.

Then it looks like we’ll see two storms during Thanksgiving week.

The first storm should be around Monday, November 25th. This system should favor the northern and maybe central mountains with low-to-moderate amounts of snow. Most models agree that the storm will hit us, though the Canadian model keeps this storm farther north with little snow over Colorado. I want the Canadian model to jump on board before fully committing to this storm because last week, the Canadian model turned out to be accurate even when it was the outlier, so we can’t fully discount it.

The second storm should be around Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. This storm could come in multiple pieces and bring snow for multiple days. It appears that this system will favor the southern mountains though it could be strong enough to bring significant snow to all mountains.

Storminess should hang around the western United States through the first week of December, but that's so far out that I do not have confidence in the details.

Thanks for reading!

My next update will be on Thursday morning.

Oh, and if you’re not skiing and are looking for something to ponder on this Thursday, please take a few minutes to read up on CDOT’s traction law – Sam posted a very short summary at the end of this post. In short, if you love chasing snow, my recommendation is to get snow tires! They work very well and are not a gimmick. I have them on my car from October 1 through mid-May and wouldn’t consider driving in the snow without them.

JOEL GRATZ

PS – There are still a few talks coming up and I hope to see some of you at one of them (listed below)!

Announcements

Upcoming talks

These talks are usually 45 minutes and allow me to show a little of the science behind snow forecasting, have some fun, and answer lots of questions. I’ll post details about each talk as they are available.

* Evergreen: Nov 21 @ Boone Mountain Sports / Evergreen Brewery
- Doors open at 600pm, beer and great food available for purchase
- My talk starts at 700pm
- Directions and details

* Breckenridge: Dec 6 @ Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge

* Basalt: Dec 12 @ Bristlecone Mountain Sports
- 700-730 Light refreshments
- 730-830 Presentation + Q&A
- Tickets are $10/person (proceeds benefit Roaring Fork Conservancy)
- More details
- Purchase a ticket in advance (might sell out)

Plug for the 12th Annual CAIC Benefit Bash

- November 23rd at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center
- The biggest fundraiser of the year for CAIC
- LOTS of prizes, awesome live music, silent and live auctions, dinner, and drinks
- Win skis, splitboards, packs, and more
- Get your ticket today!

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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