Colorado Daily Snow

Light snow Friday, stronger storm Sunday

Summary

Tuesday through Thursday will be dry and mostly sunny with temperatures cold enough for nighttime snowmaking. On Thursday night and Friday, a weak storm will bring light snow and rain, then on Sunday expect a stronger storm for the northern mountains.

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Short Term Forecast

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Most of this week will be sunny with warm days and cool nights. Snowmaking should continue each night at the higher-elevation resorts. The graphic below shows that we will be located between storms.

Thursday Night and Friday

An initial batch of energy will hit Colorado’s mountains with snow and rain on Thursday night and Friday. The snow line will likely be around 10,000ft +/-. I am expecting just a few inches at the higher elevations from this system, though there will be a decently high amount of moisture in the air, so perhaps we'll see a little upside surprise.

Following the storm on Friday, we’ll likely see drier weather on Friday night and Saturday. Then…

Sunday and Monday

We’ve been talking about the potential for a Sunday storm for almost a week, and it looks like it’s on track. All major models show the system mostly impacting the northern and central mountains sometime between Saturday night and Monday midday.

And early look at the University of Utah multi-model snow forecast for the northern mountains shows a few inches on Thursday night into Friday and then maybe 5-10 inches on Sunday into Monday.

Those numbers above look reasonable and generally match the American GFS model ensemble (average of 21 forecasts) which show the deepest totals for the northern and central mountains of Colorado and much more snow farther northwest over Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia.

Temperatures during the storm on Sunday into Monday will be cold enough for snow to fall to the valley bottoms, and that means that the higher-elevation snow quality should be pretty good. Dare I say that there could be a bit of powder on the one or two lift-serviced runs on Sunday?!

Extended Forecast

Enjoy the storm on Sunday/Monday as it looks like that might be all the action we’ll see through the rest of October.

There’s a chance that a storm will brush by northern Colorado around Thursday, October 24th, but chances for significant snow from that storm are pretty low.

After that, most major models agree that the last five days of October will bring cooler weather to the eastern half of the country with warmer and likely dry weather over the western half of the US.

I have run correlations between the snowpack at the end of each month and if the snowpack at the end of the season. The verdict is that there is virtually no correlation between early-season snow in October and November and the depth of the snow by the end of the season. That means that the two weak-ish storms this October are no cause for concern or excitement about the rest of the season. It’ll snow, we’ll ski powder, and we’ll take each storm as it comes.

Thanks for reading and look for my next post on Wednesday morning.

JOEL GRATZ

Announcements

Upcoming talks

These talks usually range from 30-45 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 soon.

Boulder: Oct 24 @ Neptune Mountaineering

* Last year was SUPER fun. Let’s do it again!
* 6-7pm happy hour, 7-8pm talk & raffle, 8pm movie
* More details & buy tickets for $10
* Proceeds from the door prize tickets and beer sales go to CAIC

Details coming soon

* Golden: Oct 30 @ Powder7
* Frisco: Nov 8 @ Highside Brewery
* Nederland: Nov 12 @ Salto Coffee / Tin Shed Sports
* Denver: Nov 14 @ Denver Athletic Club
* Evergreen: Nov 21 @ Boone Mountain Sports
* Breckenridge: Dec 6 @ Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge
* Basalt: Dec 12 @ Bristlecone Mountain Sports

If you have a venue in a town not listed above and would like for me to give a presentation this fall, send me an email ([email protected]).

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

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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