We ended 2021 with quite the snowstorm. Many areas of Colorado’s high country received 3-8 FEET of snow. That boosted statewide snowpack well above average and allowed us to breathe a bit since just a few weeks ago we were having sneaky thoughts of doubt about the upcoming snow season. Afterall, July-December was the driest last 6 months of the year for many areas across the state.
As of January 11, statewide snowpack is sitting just over 120% of normal. The Arkansas and Upper Rio Grande water basins are the only areas that are under 100% of normal. Both of those basins are in the southeast area of the state. Meanwhile, everywhere west of the continental divide is over 130% of normal for the date.
What this all comes down to is that snowpack is doing pretty great in most areas and that’s good because the forecast for significant snow looks bleak over the next week and a half. A ridge is setting up shop and the only thing making it past the ridge are weak little disturbances that will bring mostly just some cooler air and very light snow.
Between now and January 22 there are possibly two systems that could bring the state some snow but each of those systems look very weak and not very impactful. The first comes this Friday when some light snow will fall in the Front Range Foothills. At most, favored locations will get up to a few inches of snow. What is more certain is that this will come with cooler air reminding us that 60s in January are not that common.
The next storm comes around the 20-21 of the month. That system is also looking weak and not impressive for snow or cold. Ultimately, the forecast is looking more warm and dry than cold and snow and that lines up with what long-range forecasts are showing.
We know how quickly things can change around Colorado. We went from super dry in early December to extremely snowy at the end of December. Are we heading into another dry patch? It seems like it. Hopefully it won’t last very long though. January and February tend to be the snowier months for the mountains while March and April are snowier for the Denver area so there is no need to sound the alarm just yet.