8:00 PM Wednesday update.
Denver has been upgraded to a winter storm warning.
UPDATE 10:30 AM Wednesday:
That was quick. The Denver metro has been upgraded to a winter weather advisory. It’s looking snowy!
UPDATE 9:00 AM Wednesday:
Hi-res modeling is suggesting more snow than originally thought. Winter weather advisories have been added to the Urban Corridor and they will likely expand.
This will be a warm storm with light to moderate rain initially. The transition to snow could be quick and that could cause a lot more snow to add up. Take a look at the forecast radar this afternoon and overnight.
Highs across Denver will be in the mid-50s today so it’ll take a good bit of time to cool of enough to support snow. That’ll happen first near Castle Rock and Monument. Here’s a look at current advisories and snow totals.
I’ll end this update will a look at the expected snow totals and what they could be if we cool off quickly. Regardless, you’ll want to prepare for a possibly slick Wednesday evening commute with a definite slick Thursday morning and evening commute (although we’ll see bettering road conditions Thursday.)
OG STORY: What’s a meteorologist got to do to get a break around here?! Just kidding. Kind of. I’ve been enjoying some time in SoCo (Southern Colorado) around Pagosa Springs and Creede – it’s been a nice and much-needed time away. But the weather doesn’t stop so let’s talk! We’ve got a lot going on again. Let’s chat snowpack, avalanche danger, incoming snow and temps for the mountains and Urban Corridor.
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A huge plume of pacific moisture is impacting the western US and it will continue to do so for the next week or so with active weather continuing through the first week of January across Colorado. Denver and the surrounding areas have several rounds of snow to watch. The mountains do too but the lulls between storms won’t be too noticeable as consistent snow looks probable as we close out the year.
This plume of moisture will deliver amazing snows to the High country of Colorado. Pow days will be abundant over the next two weeks and snowpack will get boosted statewide.
It all starts tonight as our first storm moves in. As I’ve shown before, take a look at the atmospheric heights – areas of blue show stormy, cool weather which the yellows and oranges show the opposite.
Colorado will be consistently impacted by storm after storm with short breaks in between. In the GIF above I count 5 different pulses of energy that move across Colorado between now and January 12. That means we’ll be seeing a lot of each other 🙂
Let’s start with the Urban Corridor snow chances and then move to the mountain snow chances and a check on snowpack, etc. If that’s more you’re interested, go ahead and scroll down.
Urban Corridor Forecast
I hope you enjoyed the amazing weather around on Tuesday. Cooler, wetter weather is on the way.
We don’t have any major cold outbreaks on the horizon (yay!) but we do have some cool yet typical weather in the forecast.
Our first round of snow begins to move in Wednesday afternoon and will linger into the morning Thursday and exit by mid-morning. Initially, we may get some light rain falling Wednesday afternoon before the temperatures fall enough to support snow. Due to how warm it was recently, we shouldn’t have too many issues with roads although it doesn’t take much to coat roads this time of the year. Most of the snow for Denver will happen overnight Wednesday into Thursday with the Thursday morning commute being impacted by slushy/snow-covered roads.
Here’s an animation of what the radar could look like as this storm passes.
The mountains will be getting most of the active weather (more on that below) but you can see Denver and theI-25 corridor getting some action.
By Thursday morning, this is how much snow should be around.
And to be honest, those around Denver – especially south and west of town – could be surprised by 5-8″ of snow. Can’t rule out 3-6″ in Denver but it’s likely to be between 2-4″. Less for Ft. Collins and Colorado Springs.
They’ll be a couple mediocre chances for snow showers along the Urban Corridor Friday night with little to no accumulation and again Sunday to Monday with again, little to no accumulation.
The next storm we’d watch around Denver will roll through around January 3-5th. That storm has a bit more potential to be a bigger storm. The setup is looking to be good for an upslope storm. We’ll see how the models handle things over the next couple of days.
The mountains, depending on where you are, have been doing well this season. The central and northern mountains have been doing much better than the San Juans but the incoming active weather will boost snows statewide.
Here’s the current snowpack across Colorado.
Again, the San Juans are struggling a bit. As are the SE mountains like the Sangre’s and Wet mountains. Areas around Steamboat are doing great.
The incoming weather will be rather consistent for the mountains. Snow starts Tuesday night and continues for at least a week. Daily snow chances will be realized as most ski areas statewide which will allow for great turns anywhere you go. Here’s a look at the first round of snow that will move through and how much to expect statewide.
Steamboat may see 9-14″ of snow by Thursday.
Winter Park, Loveland, Breckenridge, Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte should all see between 8-15″ of snow by Thursday.
Telluride and Wolf Creek could get 12-18″ of snow by Thursday morning.
More active weather will continue into this weekend with light snow continuing because of favorable orographics.
The next “big” storm to move into Colorado looks to be around the 3, 4th of January. that could deliver another heap of snow to the mountains.
Don’t get too caught up in the totals that I’m about to show but keep in mind, this could be a pretty active stretch of weather for the high country. Here’s how much snow could fall in the next 10 days.
Most ski areas will be counting the snow in feet. Between now and January 6th, we’re talking about 30-50″+ (not a typo) of snow possible for most areas. The San Juans, the Elks, the Park Range and the Front Range mountains will have some great snow. And yes, that’s Denver with 7-10″ of snow with similar amounts in Colorado Springs, Boulder and Ft. Collins – this is the TOTAL amount of snow with the next several pulses of snow. Looks white!
Avalanche danger will be HIGH so please be careful if you’re back country skiing. We had our first avalanche death of the season recently. Read more on that here.
Please stay safe.
Additionally, this will be a WET snow (comparatively) . It will be holding lots of moisture which is great for reservoirs and drought.
We’re looking at 2-4″ of liquid precip for the mountains and a solid amount of moisture for the Urban Corridor as well. This is all great news.
Overall, a nice little storm setup we have heading our way in the next couple of weeks.
Enjoy the weather!
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