What a week it’s been for the Colorado mountains. Snowpack has grown significantly and more snow is in the forecast. There’s even some snow in the forecast for Denver and the Front Range at the end of this week that could bring Denver’s second accumulation of the season.
The snowpack in the Colorado mountains was struggling a bit at the beginning of the month thanks to a lack of snow in November but the recent storm cycle has brought snowpack close to average. With the incoming snow this week, I’d expect the snowpack to rise above average as we head into the New Year.
A snowpack near average is exactly what we’re always striving for. Several feet of snow has accumulated since Christmas Eve with the most near Crested Butte and Wolf Creek who reported over 3-feet of new snow since the 24th. A big reason the snowpack values rose so quickly is because the snow that we just saw was holding a lot of water in it. An atmospheric river of moisture that originated from the tropics near Hawaii transported that tropical moisture to us. 2-4-inches of liquid water was reported in many areas of the Western Slope. This should also help out drought conditions in Western Colorado.
Another round of snow will bring many mountains locations above 8,000 feet more than a foot of snow by Tuesday morning with light snow showers continuing through Wednesday and Thursday. Another big blast of snow looks to be possible by the end of the week and that could bring another significant round of snow to the mountains with totals possible to eclipse a foot in some locations.
The long-range forecasts are showing continued active weather for the mountains through the first 10 days of January which we love to see. building up snowpack now helps us retain snow through the Spring months. We know how quickly things can change in Colorado so let’s enjoy what is happening!
Denver and Front Range Forecast
A cold front is pushing through today that will drop temperatures for Tuesday and Wednesday to below average. As this cold front moves through tonight, it has the potential to spawn a few snow showers across the area but no significant accumulations are expected if anything falls at all. Temperatures throughout this week will moderate to near normals by midweek. That leaves us with highs in the 40s.
A big cold front is expected to move through Friday and it will be potent. Temperatures should fall about 40 degrees from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning. As that cold front moves through, upslope winds will develop and that is a pretty classic setup for snow along the I-25 corridor. We will be battling some warm air at first since temperatures will be well into the 40s before the front comes through.
There’s the potential that there could be several inches of snow from this system but the potential over only getting a half-inch to an inch is there too. As of now though, it’s looking probable that Denver will see at least some accumulation between Friday afternoon and Saturday. Saturday will be a very cold day across the area with highs barely getting out of the teens in some places.
Our snow season has been dismal. Denver has only received 0.3″ of snow for this entire season. A deficit of more than 20-inches. Through the end of December, Denver averages 20.5-inches of snow. This possible incoming snow, although it may not be much, is at least something and with our drought deepening and worsening – we’ll take anything we can get.