Colorado Weather Forecast #145: Nov. 13 - Nov. 19, 2021

Colorado's high country picks up small scraps of snowfall as gusty conditions continue to rage. Will Denver set a new record for latest first snowfall?

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Updated Tue Nov 16, 2021 1:00pm MST | Published Mon Nov 15, 2021

By Thomas Horner

Summary

  • Weak storm on Tuesday and into Wednesday, mostly impacting northern Colorado (generally 0-4”).
  • Cold front late Tuesday / early Wednesday for the Front Range.
  • Banded snowfall possible on Wednesday morning – this is the only chance for Denver to pick up accumulating snow.
  • Warming into Thursday.
  • Weak disturbances through Sunday, mostly impacting northern Colorado. Generally 0-4” through Sunday morning.
  • Gusty conditions will continue to be more common than not.
  • Next storm around Tuesday next week, likely for the San Juans.

Weekly Snow Planner

38%

Chance Denver receives accumulating snow before Nov. 21 (Nov. 21 is the latest first snowfall on record for Denver)

Northern Mountains

Park Range and N Front Range: Steamboat, Buffalo Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, Bluebird, RMNP, IPW, Cameron Pass

6am New Snow

T-5"

Wed

0-1"

Thu

0"

Fri

0-2"

Sat

0-4"

Sun

0-3"

Mon

0-T

Tues

6am Powder Potential

15%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

11%

Sun

3%

Mon

0%

Tues

I-70 Corridor

Front Range, Gore Range, etc.: Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Jones Pass, Loveland, A-Basin, Keystone, Breck, Copper, Vail Pass, Vail, Beaver Creek

6am New Snow

0-3"

Wed

0-1"

Thu

0"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0-3"

Sun

0-2"

Mon

0-T

Tues

6am Powder Potential

6%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

4%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tues

Central Mountains

Elk Mountains, Sawatch Range, Grand Mesa, West Elks: Aspen Resorts, Crested Butte, Powderhorn, Sunlight, Kebler Pass, Independence Pass, Cottonwood Pass, Monarch

6am New Snow

0-1"

Wed

0-T

Thu

0"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0-2"

Sun

0-2"

Mon

0"

Tues

6am Powder Potential

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

1%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tues

Southern Mountains

San Juans: Telluride, Red Mountain Pass, Silverton, Coal Bank Pass, Purgatory, Wolf Creek

6am New Snow

0-T

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

0-T

Sat

0-1"

Sun

0-1"

Mon

0-1"

Tues

6am Powder Potential

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tues

State of the Snowpack

Last week’s storm bumped Colorado’s snowpack up in a few areas, with the primary beneficiaries being the high mountains of western Colorado and around Summit County.

Elsewhere, the story is starting to look a bit grim, as much of Colorado has received little to no precipitation over the past couple weeks.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)
(via NRCS)
(via NRCS)
Snow depth difference from average (via NOHRSC)
Snow depth difference from average (via NOHRSC)

It’s unlikely the state will see much snow at all until next week, which also doesn’t look all too promising.

Most elevations below 12,000ft. observed temperatures above freezing today, with highs at least in the 50s below 9,000ft.

Though not much snow is in the forecast, we expect temperatures to cool down as we enter an unsettled though unproductive pattern. Gusty conditions will continue to be an issue, and winds have done a number to the snowpack above treeline.

This morning, Berthoud Pass recorded gusts over 70mph, with gusts well over 50mph down into the foothills and even into Boulder.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Forecast Discussion: This Week

The next wave system swings through on Tuesday, though mostly misses Colorado well to the north. A small plume of moisture advects into Colorado during the day, and a weak shortwave provides some lifting energy to turn that into snow, though this is mostly confined to the Park Range and northern Front Range.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

A jet max overhead does set up the potential for some banded snowfall oriented from west to east early Wednesday morning, and a decent cold front that will impact the Front Range (either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning). It will be plenty cold – but will there be enough moisture for snow on the I-25 corridor?

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

The banded snowfall beneath the jet max does provide Denver a slim chance accumulating snowfall – but only the Euro is really seeing this potential. A miss would mean that the city will set a new record for the latest date of the first accumulating snowfall (currently November 21st), with the next chance likely coming around Thanksgiving.

A weak ridge establishes itself over the western United States by Thursday, though we wont warm up as much as we experienced today. This breaks down as another, very weak shortwave impacts Colorado by Friday.

Forecast Discussion: The Weekend

A decently moist airmass advects into Colorado along with this shortwave, though the initial piece of energy on Friday doesn’t look to provide enough lift to produce snow. A slightly stronger wave just behind it likely will provide the dynamics we need (with help of a small jet max), with snow falling on Saturday in northern Colorado as it enters the region.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

This looks to be short-lived and weak, and it’s likely the system could miss almost entirely to the north. As it stands, the northern mountains could pick up a few inches of snow by Sunday morning, with maybe a couple inches for the I-70 corridor.

It will of course be very gusty in the mountains from Friday to Sunday as these disturbances work their way across the state. This could also push some colder air down the Front Range, but not a strong cold front like we’ll see on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning.

After that, it looks like our next opportunity for snow is a storm with southwesterly flow early next week – this would impact the San Juans.

Overall, here is the Blend’s snow expectations through Monday morning…ouch!:

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