Since Denver got its first ‘official’ snow last week, temperatures have been moderating and the sunshine has returned. We haven’t seen consistent chilly/fall weather last for longer than a couple days but that’s about to change as cold air settles in.
First off, let’s check snowpack! It’s looking nice.
Statewide, snowpack is doing really well. The Laramie, North Platte and South Platte basins are fairing the ‘worst’ but even there, snowpack is above average for this date. Compare that to the San Juans and SW Colorado which just got a big boost and are sitting over 200% of normal for this date.
Another way to look at snowpack data is a line graph.
For this date, we’re doing pretty well! We’re running about a week ahead of schedule in terms of our current snowpack and we’d like to see that build up a bit more in this early season which looks likely!
There’s a storm riding down the west coast bring hella consistent snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Some areas of the Sierra Nevada mountain near Mammoth mountain could wind up with 5-7 FEET of snow by the end of the week. This will be a great fire season-ending storm and will provide a huge amount of water to areas that really need it.
Some of that moisture will be moving across Colorado as this storm ejects from California into the Upper Midwest as such:
That deep area of blues and purples off the NW coast is the storm that is approaching. It will quickly push across Colorado Tuesday PM to the end of the week with varying weather each day.
- pre-frontal warmth
- mountain snow
- breezy winds
- I-25 light snow
- cold weather
is all expected this week.
This will be a quick-moving storm so impacts will be limited but intense at times. Wednesday and Thursday will bring the biggest impacts in terms of snow starting in the western areas of the state and moving east by Thursday. Overall moisture across the mountains will be sufficient for weather alerts as roads will easily become snow covered. For the lower elevations and I-25, Wednesday night to Thursday morning will be the best chance for light snow.
Update (7:00 am Tuesday): Winter weather alerts have been issued for the high country.
Here’s a look at expected timing for a few locales across the state.
Most areas across Colorado will see moisture increase Wednesday afternoon/evening as the storm nears. It will be bringing some pretty stiff winds as well with gusts up to 30 and 50 mph possible in the mountains Wednesday night. Denver and the Front Range will also be battling some stronger winds in the form of 20-30 mph gusts each day through Thursday. Fire weather alerts have been issued.
For Denver, there’s a chance the morning commute on Thursday may be impacted by snow so keep that in mind. We’re not looking at huge totals for the I-25 corridor but as we saw with the last storm, it doesn’t take much to cause big issues on our roads.
This storm, based on the track it’s likely to take, will definitely favor the central and northern mountains this go around. Areas from Aspen, Crested Butte, Breckenridge, Winter Park to Steamboat will see 5-10″ of snow by Thursday afternoon. Areas from Telluride to Wolf Creek will get 2-6″ of snow. The I-25 corridor will be mostly dry – and windy – from The Palmer Divide near Monument and points to the south. From Castle Rock to Denver to Ft. Collins – 0-2″ of snow is possible from this system as it passes by.
Here’s a look at Denver’s extended forecast.
Overall, this will be a quick-moving storm from Wednesday to Thursday. Friday and into the weekend are looking sunny but cold so we’ll have some real cold mornings. The high country will have sub-zero lows Friday morning and Saturday morning with lows in the single digits Sunday morning so bundle up in the high country!