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POWDER FOR COLORADO AND NEW MEXICO! THE SIERRA MAY NAB SEVERAL FEET NEXT WEEK.2019-01-10
Light snow will be falling today in the Tetons (2-4) Thursday. Moderate snow is likely for much of Colorado on Friday that also impacts New Mexico into Saturday. Heavy high elevation snowfall is likely next week in the Sierra that spreads leftovers into the Rockies in the extended forecast. New England just nabbed 7-13 inches of powder in the past 24 hours.
If you're in the Tetons a light refresh will happen during the day with 2-4 inches likely by the last chair Thursday. The main event to watch is Colorado and New Mexico with a moderate system pushing in late Thursday into the San Juans. I mentioned yesterday that the GFS was the optimist and the Euro the Pessimist. Today, the models flipped with the Euro calling for a moderate powder day by late AM Friday with the GFS pushing most of the snow south of Denver and along the Palmer Divide. The NAM is shouting "deep powder day" by last chair Friday. I am inclined to side by the Euro who splits the difference between all the models.
Bottom Line: Snow will begin in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado by 11 PM with SW wind direction. Light to moderate amounts are possible north of Durango (Silverton, Purgatory, Telluride (Wildcard). Light snow will also be falling in the Elks near Aspen, and Crested Butte as moisture pushes north under the SW flow. It's likely mountains on the western side of Colorado nab 3-5 inches for first chair Friday. Most of the action by Friday morning will be favoring the eastern side of Colorado.
For the Front, Range winds will be primarily from the north that should favor the Continental Divide primarily 3 AM to 8 PM Friday. Peak snowfall will be during the morning hours at or just after the snow reports. You may get a 2-3 inch report followed by another 3-5 inches during the day. My forecast is for 5-8 inches for most resorts along I-70 favoring areas east of Vail Pass. It's likely that southern Summit score higher amounts (Breckenridge, Keystone, A-Basin) than it's neighbors north of I-70? Berthoud and Loveland Pass should score similar amounts Some additional light snow will be falling Friday evening that will bring storm totals slightly higher. Best times to ride powder will be Friday while it is snowing in most of the above-mentioned areas.
Below: University of Utah plumes showing a mean total of 8 inches for the Eisenhower Tunnel by 00Z (4 PM MST). You can see slightly higher amounts by Saturday morning (10). There is a decent amount of lines below the mean (Outliers), giving me only moderate confidence. Lines below the mean =less snow. As mentioned above the GFS is the pessimist so it's possible that lower amounts end up falling Friday. The Plumes tend to be overdone somewhat. Berthoud Pass had similar amounts. Vail Pass had 3-7. I think 4-8 is a safe bet for Summit County and its possible higher amounts fall south of I-70.
Below: Optimistic NAM showing moderate to heavy snow for Colorado and NM (6-11).
Below: The pessimistic GFS showing much less snow for Summit County (2-4).
The Euro splits the difference between the NAM and GFS (4-8).
New Mexico reaps the leftovers beginning Friday and ending Saturday morning. It's possible that Taos or Ski Santa Fe report 3-7 inches by Saturday morning (Ride late Friday or early Saturday).
The Rockies dry out this weekend and early next week. The models are pointing to a very wet pattern setting up for the Sierra beginning on Monday next week. Several warm and moist systems will push into the Sierra Monday-Thursday next week. The upper elevations of the ski areas may see an excess of 2-3 feet of snow during this period. Warmer temps may limit snowfall at the bases. Colder temps are likely to trend in by midweek bringing snowfall to the bases. Significant snowfall may continue into Thursday morning. The southern Sierra may initially be favored early next week with the northern areas more favorable Wednesday/Thursday (Too early to predict).
The leftovers, split and edge into the Rockies bringing several periods of light or moderate snow to the Wasatch, Tetons and most of Colorado at some point Tuesday-Friday. This may end up being several events of light or moderate snow that add up nicely by the end of next week. I am not sure there will be any single deep event in the Rockies. I am confident of several deep events for the Sierra.
Below: Models show several feet of snow at upper elevations of the Sierra through Thursday.
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