Colorado Daily Snow

Opposites

Summary

Sunday’s storm brought the most snow to the central mountains (6-10”) and also dropped a surprise on Copper and Breckenridge (11-13”). After a short break on Sunday night, the next storm is moving into the northern mountains now on Monday morning and we should see 4-8+ inches through Monday night and Tuesday. The best powder should be in the northern mountains on Monday and Tuesday with lower amounts in the central and southern mountains. We’ll trend toward dry weather during the end of the week through Saturday, then the next storm will likely arrive later Sunday or next Monday, March 2nd.

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Short Term Forecast

Sunday’s storm was warm and had lots of moisture, which meant the chance for deep snow totals. But we had very low confidence about where any of the higher snowfall totals would be.

Early on Sunday morning, the central mountains were the early leader with 5-6 inches around Crested Butte and Aspen.

Then on Sunday mid-morning, something amazing happened as Breckenridge and Copper (separated by only a few miles as the crow flies) received 8-12 inches of snow in about three hours while nearby mountains saw just 3-6 inches. The only way to explain this intense snow is by thinking of it similar to a summertime thunderstorm where a small yet intense cell drops a lot of precipitation very quickly and then dissipates.

The animations below show just a few hours on Sunday morning.

Breckenridge:

Copper

Going into this storm, we were thinking that the southern mountains would see 6-12 inches and the central and northern mountains would be in the 2-10 inch range with very low confidence in the details.

Below are the actual storm totals from Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening. The southern mountains were on the low side of the forecast, the central mountains did the best as a group, and the northern mountains had the widest range.

Southern Mountains
10” Red Mountain Pass (SNOTEL)
10” Wolf Creek
4”   Purgatory
4”   Telluride

Central Mountains
10” Aspen Mountain
8”   Aspen Highlands
8”   Monarch
8”   Snowmass
6”   Buttermilk
6”   Crested Butte
2”   Sunlight

Northern Mountains
13” Breckenridge
11” Copper
8”   Cooper
7”   Keystone
5”   Beaver Creek
4”   Loveland
4”   Vail
3”   Arapahoe Basin
2”   Steamboat

Most of the snow on the above reports was skied on Sunday, but a little bit fell near or just after lifts closed on Sunday evening, which means that the softness will extend into Monday morning.

And speaking of Monday morning, the next storm is already arriving with snow falling in the northern mountains. This is the radar animation from 430am to 600am on Monday.

The Monday/Tuesday storm will track into Colorado from the northwest and it’ll have very cold air and limited moisture. This is the opposite of our last storm, which tracked through Colorado from the southwest with warm air and a lot of moisture.

During the day on Monday, the northern mountains will see snow with falling temperatures and gusty winds especially during the first half of the day. The central mountains and the northern part of the southern mountains may also see lighter snow by later on Monday.

The snow will continue on Monday night through Tuesday. Normally, with a consistent flow from the northwest, I would be looking out for upside surprises in the northern mountains, though with very cold air moving in and limited moisture, I am concerned that despite a favorable setup for a surprise, we will lack the necessary moisture.

Conditions should get softer through the day on Monday and likely become even softer on Tuesday with the northern mountains favored for 4-8+ inches and lower totals in the central mountains.

Tuesday will be a very cold day with temperatures in the single digits in the northern mountains, so if you’re heading out to enjoy the pow, dress warmly.

Extended Forecast

The snow should end by late Tuesday night and we should see dry weather for most of Wednesday.

Then a weak wave of energy will bring some flakes back to the northern mountains on Wednesday night into Thursday with light accumulations.

If you’re looking for the sunniest and warmest days in the next week, those should be Friday and Saturday with high temperatures in the 30s.

The next storm is still on track to bring snow starting sometime on Sunday, March 1st or more likely on Monday, March 2nd. Like this week, next week could bring multiple days of snow, but it’ll still too early to get excited for powder days as we have a long way to go before having confidence about the details of next week’s storm track.

Thanks for reading!

My next update will be on Tuesday morning.

JOEL GRATZ

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Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Along the Divide
Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains

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