Heavy snow is hitting the mountains and has been for about 12-18 hours now. Upwards of a foot has already fallen on some areas like Copper, Loveland and Winter Park Ski Areas. Those areas are bracing for another 1-2′ of snow before things wind down on Monday morning.
There’s a lot to update here so scroll to what you find interesting – first, Avalanche Danger then mountain snow update then Denver snow update .
|Avalanche Watches and Warning Up for much of the North Central mountains.|
Avalanches, according to the CAIC, will be easy to trigger by humans. This is a very big concern as more snow is likely to accumulate and avalanche dangers will be ever-increasing. Even small avalanches can harm or kill someone so please take this seriously this weekend.
|Snowfall through Friday morning|
|ECMWF Snowfall through Monday|
|Denver Snow Possibility.|
|Temperature Forecast for Denver through the 22nd December.|
This isn’t frigid or record-breaking but it is going to be much colder than the previous few days.
It seems like we haven’t talked much about a lack of snow this season. It’s been snowy snowy snowy!
|Snowpack across Colorado as of December 11, 2019|
In fact, ALL areas of Colorado have seen impressive snowfall already this season. Statewide, we’re running 119% above the normal for this time of the year. This incoming round of snow will add to this impressive snowpack, improve drought conditions across the region and also increase avalanche danger as well.
The upcoming snow will come in 3 waves but there won’t be much time between each wave so it’ll seem like this is one very long-duration event. The first wave of moisture is already starting to move in.
Take a look above. Notice the red arrows – that is the stream of moisture that is screaming into Colorado with 130 kt jet pumping in a lot of Pacific Moisture. This is a great set up for heavy snow, especially on the western facing slopes. Snowfall is already beginning in the high country and it will continue through Friday night with varying rates of snowfall throughout. There will be a slight lull Friday PM before another burst of energy spills in.
Winter alerts are issued for much of the western higher terrain. Areas in pink are where the most snow is expected to fall between now and Saturday.
The secondary and third burst of energy is a little bit more tricky just because of timing and actual track – on top of that, the models are different enough to leave me uncertain in some areas. Some to note: the current winter highlights are for this FIRST round of snow. There will be additional winter alerts posted for the remained of the snow expected this weekend.
This will be an extremely windy storm as well. Gusts on some of the mountain passes could exceed 70 mph. More commonly, 30-50 mph winds will be felt.
Denver is going to miss out on much of the action until we get to Saturday, Sunday, Monday. There’s a little issue with timing that needs to be ironed out but ultimately, Denver *may* see impacts from the second and third burst of snow. The first round of light snow may move into the Front Range for Saturday when light precip could fall. That final burst of energy is the one worth watching closer. Timing and exact track or still up in the air but overall, models are suggestions that Denver could end up with some decent snow by the end of the day on Sunday. Some models are suggestions 4-6″ across the city. Other models are suggesting a trace-2″ is possible. So, obviously, impacts will vary depending on the final outcome.
Denver is also going to see windy conditions on Friday when winds could gust to 45 mph.
|EURO Model through Sunday|
This is a look at the 06Z run of the ECMWF. It has been handling the winter weather the best this year. It has a solid 4-6″ across Denver by Sunday evening. It also has 1-2 FEET of snow for the mountains. The mountains, by the end of the weekend, could get up to 3 feet of snow! More commonly, 18-30″ of snow will be seen in the high country.
Denver, I can’t put a definitive number down yet as to how much snow will fall but expect wintery conditions this weekend with Saturday and Sunday being a little snowy at times.
~Snow or shine
I’m Andy Stein