COLDER AIR AND SNOW HEADED FOR COLORADO. IT’S POSSIBLE THAT A FEW DOUBLE DIGITS SNEAK UP IN A FEW SPOTS.
Summary 2/9/18 AM REPORT
Light snow is continuing over Montana and Wyoming this morning. As I forecasted the bulk of precipitation fell east of most ski areas bringing numbers to unimpressive amounts especially the Tetons that picked up less that originally forecasted. Cold air will make its way into eastern Colorado by Friday night and into the far western and southern regions at some point Saturday morning. Expect powder to be falling over the I-70 corridor by sunrise with moderate amounts for last chair Saturday. The deepest snow may be found in the northern San Juans or closest to the Front Range in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Short Term Forecast
Models are showing a split flow over Colorado Saturday. In the eastern regions towards the Front Range winds will be North or Northeast favoring resorts along or north of I-70 including Loveland Pass. I am very confident that Rocky Mountain National Park nab decent amounts by late Saturday (7-10) I am less confident on Loveland Pass, Winter Park and Eldora but would suspect by last chair Saturday a range of 5-8 inches will be likely. Don’t expect more than 1-3 inches on snow reports Saturday morning as peak snowfall will most likely happen from 9AM to 3PM. Upslope flow will weaken Saturday evening with most resorts reporting light snow for Sunday morning. Other areas in Summit County extending to Eagle (Vail, Beaver Creek) should fall in the range of 3-7 inches by late Saturday. Colder temps can enhance snowfall significantly so its possible orographics provide higher amounts.
Below: 9,000 foot temperatures Celsius falling sharply over the Front Range by sunrise Saturday. Slightly warmer conditions and less snow will initially be seen in the San Juans initially.
Below: Cold front advances into the San Juans enhancing snow late AM or early PM Saturday.
Further west winds are NW and North that will also bring snow to most of the resorts from Aspen to Telluride. The GFS model puts decent amounts over Aspen (Does well with North and NW winds), extending south to Telluride while the European model pumps higher amounts into the Front Range. I suspect 5-9 inches will be likely at the summits near Aspen. Telluride may see decent snow late Saturday AM through Saturday evening (Split powder day). Aspen may be decent by last chair Saturday where Telluride may offer a split of powder late Saturday and early Sunday. Crested Butte lands moisture with an unfavorable wind direction (Likes SW or West). Its possible that more snow falls south and west of the ski area bringing them a tease of 3-5 inches. Wolf Creek will grab light or moderate snow with areas north and west seeing higher amounts in the northern San Juan Range.
Even New Mexico gets a tease favoring resorts closer to the Santa Fe with some upslope flow noted late Saturday (Taos will see light snow while areas east may see more).
Ultimately Saturday morning, plan on watching web cams for the highest snow intensities. You may be able to avoid the mass panic on I-70 early morning and scoot out at 10AM and find rewards happening just as everyone is having lunch or leaving the resorts at 2PM.
I booked a 3PM flight to San Diego for $35 (Spirit Air) and will be positioned in Summit County hoping for something to ride late AM before my flight. If it gets deeper than expected by 1PM I’m going to kiss my San Diego trip goodbye (Always select powder over the beach).
Image: Total snowfall for the west through Sunday morning. Highest amounts noted in the northern San Juans, Front Range northern foothills (Rocky Mountain National Park), and Pikes Peak Region
The high pressure blocking ridge continues in the west, forcing storms north. The Cascades may start to see snow on Monday (light or moderate) that quickly zips over the northern Rockies and Colorado (light to moderate) early next week. During the mid or late week it looks like the northern Pacific remains active with cold air and snow in the interior of BC sending ripples through the northern Rockies late week.
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