Back again with another storm headed to Colorado! This one will bring a better chance for accumulating snow along I-25 – albeit, still not a major storm but likely to be enough to give Denver its first ‘official’ snow since the last one didn’t count. This will impact Colorado Wednesday through Friday with Thursday/Friday being the best time for the I-25 corridor to see snow.
We’ve been under a warming and drying trend since our last storm. Up to two feet of snow fell because of that storm. Thanks to that accumulation, snowpack season has begun! Here’s a look at the current snowpack across Colorado.
The Central mountains, including Winter Park, Summit County, Aspen and Crested Butte, have above normal snowpack right now. The rest of the mountains in Colorado are running a fair amount below the average for this date. The incoming storm will provide snow statewide but the southern mountains, the Sangre de Cristos and the San Juans, will be the most impacted. This storm will likely boost these areas to normal or above-normal snowpack by the end of the weekend.
The incoming storm is currently moving onshore near the Oregon/California border and it will continue to drop southeast through the next 24 hours. Winter weather alerts are posted region-wide with the Sierra seeing its first significant snow of the season with 1-2 feet of snow possible and a favorable pattern for snow and wet weather lasting for the next 10-14 days.
This storm is going to dig pretty far south into Arizona and New Mexico which is why southern Colorado will see more impacts from this. As you can see, the San Juans are under a Winter Storm Watch which means watch out for winter storm conditions within the next 36 hours. It’ll be upgrade to a warning when those conditions are expected within 24 hours. For anyone that doesn’t know in the Denver area, we want a storm like this to line up over SE Colorado for optimal upslope flow around Denver. This storm is looking to land somewhere over central New Mexico.
Notice the area of blues/greens in NorCal. That’s the storm we’re watching. It will dive southeast into the Four Corners area through this week before ejecting into the Upper Midwest this weekend. Most major weather models are showing this area of low pressure making is as far south as central New Mexico and with this kind of agreement amongst models, it’s hard to go against it.
Some models have this storm slightly stronger than other. Some models have this a bit more north than others. Both of those factors are going to have to be watched closely because a slight track further north could mean better snow chances along I-25 north of Colorado Springs.
Regardless, flow around the storm will push a lot of moisture into the San Juans and thanks to the orographics in that area, we will see the snow stack up nicely. Winds will be favorable for snow in the San Juans starting Wednesday and Lasting through Friday.
Up to two feet of snow could fall above 10,000′ in the eastern San Juans as wind flow and upslope will be the longest lasting there. Other areas of Colorado’s high country are likely to see advisory level weather alerts so expect those to be possible from Steamboat to Crested Butte. If you have any travel in the mountains from Wednesday to Friday (and possibly beyond), please make sure your car is ready to handle snow and slippery weather.
Here are the current winter alerts in place through Friday.
Here’s a look at potential snow totals for all of Colorado.
Many mountains will see some nice snow from this storm. Again, with the San Juans benefitting the most. Durango and Pagosa Springs are expecting some light snow from this storm as well. The I-25 corridor border to border is not looking like much but 0-2″ is possible from Thursday to Friday. The Raton Mesa (Trinidad) and the Palmer Divide (Castle Rock/Monument) have the best shot at that 2″ total. The Foothills from Woodland Park to Bailey to Idaho springs to Estes Park could see 2-5″ of snow.
Precipitation in general looks to be nice regardless of if it falls as snow or not.
The I-25 corridor and points east should get between 0.10-.25″ of liquid with areas from Castle Rock north could get up to a half inch (0.50″). From Aspen to Grand Junction and points north, a half inch to an inch of liquid is expected. The San Juan’s will get over an inch of moisture from this storm which is great news.
Here’s a look a timing in the San Juans (Telluride area shown as example)
Snow should start Wednesday evening and continue through Friday night. It will also be very windy Wednesday to Thursday.
For the Denver area, here’s a bit of what to expect timing-wise.
Clouds will thicken up Thursday after a dry and warm Wednesday. Winds will be breezy Thursday and Friday afternoon with gusts up to 30 mph. Moisture begins to tick up Wednesday evening and continues through Friday morning. This will be the best chance for rain or snow along the I-25 corridor. This is a short window of opportunity with a storm that’s not in a great location so again, not expecting huge totals from this storm.
We’ll need 0.10″ (or a tenth of an inch) of snow to add up at DIA for it to count as our first official snow and that’s looking like a good possibility right now.
Temperatures will obviously reflect snow potential with cold weather incoming for Denver.
Thursday and Friday will be cold, raw fall days but after temps in the 70s with sunshine (!!), it will feel a bit more like normal for this time of the year. Friday and Saturday mornings will be very cold. This weekend is looking warmer and drier with temperatures at seasonal norms.
Looking ahead, favorable winds look to bring scattered snows to the mountains this weekend and into early next week but there is no good signal for a big storm in that time. Another chance of light rain/snow is possible Monday across the Urban Corridor but it looks like light precipitation at best right now.
Enjoy the weather!