Colorado Weather Forecast #149: Dec. 4 - Dec. 12, 2021

Two storms next week -- one weaker one on Tuesday, and a considerably stronger one near the end of the week -- will bring cold temperatures and powder to the mountains. Denver will likely see its first snow.

This forecast is no longer valid. Please return to our list of forecast articles to find more recent posts.

Updated Sat Dec 4, 2021 1:20am MST | Published Fri Dec 3, 2021

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through Dec. 11)

227

Days since the last measurable snowfall in Denver (At the official weather station / 2nd longest streak since record keeping began)

95%

Chance of accumulating snow in Denver by Dec. 13th (At the official weather station)

Northern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0"

Sun

0-1"

Mon

1-7"

Tue

1-4"

Wed

T-5"

Thu

2-14"

Fri

3-13"

Sat

6am Powder Potential

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

15%

Tue

10%

Wed

10%

Thu

40%

Fri

40%

Sat

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"

Sun

0-T

Mon

1-6"

Tue

1-4"

Wed

0-3"

Thu

1-10"

Fri

3-11"

Sat

6am Powder Potential

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

15%

Tue

5%

Wed

5%

Thu

30%

Fri

50%

Sat

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"

Sun

0"

Mon

1-6"

Tue

1-3"

Wed

0-3"

Thu

2-14"

Fri

4-13"

Sat

6am Powder Potential

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

15%

Tue

5%

Wed

0%

Thu

45%

Fri

60%

Sat

Southern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

T-4"

Tue

T-4"

Wed

0-2"

Thu

2-15"

Fri

6-18"

Sat

6am Powder Potential

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

15%

Tue

5%

Wed

0%

Thu

45%

Fri

70%

Sat

Denver Metro

Denver and surrounding suburbs: Lakewood, Westminster, Aurora, Highlands Ranch

6am New Snow

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0-1"

Tue

0-T

Wed

0-T

Thu

0-2"

Fri

1-7"

Sat

6am Snow Accum. Chance

0%

Sun

5%

Mon

25%

Tue

45%

Wed

5%

Thu

55%

Fri

70%

Sat

Summary

Hello night owls (it’s almost 1:30am), or more likely, early risers. We have some storms in the forecast, finally, so let’s dust off the unused parts of our snow color gradient and work through a semi-coherent forecast discussion at this fine hour.

  • Still mild and dry through the weekend, maybe some light snow in northern Colorado late Sunday.

  • Fairly weak storm from Monday to Wednesday AM, favoring western Colorado. Not a very cold one, but windy.

  • Stronger, much colder storm from Thursday to Saturday AM. Double digit snow totals are currently in the forecast.

Retrospective

What a warm start to December! On Thursday, Denver tied the record high of 73°F. On Friday, the lack of a nice warming downslope kept the high temperature “only” at 72°F. Notably, here at the Highpoint Weather HQ in Golden, it was 64°F at 10pm on December 1st!

Temperature anomalies were jacked across the board:

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Today (December 3), we’ve cooled down a bit behind a weak cold front, though temperatures are still well above average. The mountains are relatively unaffected by the slight cooldown. On Saturday, temperatures will warm slightly to be 10-20 degrees above average before the next front on Sunday.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Forecast Discussion: Sunday Shortwave

Here’s Sunday afternoon’s cold front:

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

This is associated with a weak shortwave that will graze us on Monday.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Besides the cold front (which will mostly just cool the Front Range down to more seasonable temperatures), it’s possible, but not likely, that some areas of the northern mountains could pick up an entire inch of snow.

…Whatever. What’s more exciting is that after the temperature drops rapidly on Sunday evening, it wont really recover until Wednesday (and only briefly), for we have a more serious chance of snow from Monday to Tuesday – into early Wednesday AM.

Forecast Discussion: Storm Monday to Wednesday

First, take a look at our snow forecast comparison and verification chart, where we pit forecasters and weather models against each other in a quest for true glory. It is an extraordinarily tedious use of our time to collect the data for this!

We’ll be adding observations to this as the storm unfolds – it will update whenever we add that data, so definitely check back each day (we’ll be posting new discussions with this same chart embedded, as well).

Snow Forecast Comparison and Verification Chart

Last updated Wednesday December 8, 2021 12pm.

Forecast Start: Monday December 6, 2021 5am

Forecast End: Wednesday December 8, 2021 5am

* = No reliable observations, verification uses SNODAS estimates which may be incorrect.
"Score" accounts for the spread/range of an accurate forecast. Lower spread = higher score. For instance, if 4" falls at a certain location, the forecast for 2-7" gets less points than the forecast for 3-5". Points are deducted for very inaccurate forecasts.

Thomas Horner Weather Forecaster @ Highpoint Weather

Issued Sun Dec. 5 11pm
✔️ Verified
84%
33/39
Score
31%
62/195
🎯 Spread
3.2
average
💥 High
3
7%
❌ Low
3
7%

Note: (Fri Dec. 3 11pm) Going for tighter ranges this time around.

Central Colorado
13/45pts (28%) ✔️9/9 (100%) 💥0/9 (0%) 0/9 (0%)

Aspen Highlands: 2-5" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Aspen Mountain: 2-5" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Aspen Snowmass: 2-6" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
1" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Buttermilk: 1-4" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

2pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
1" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Cottonwood Pass*: 1-3" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

2pts
1" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
0" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Crested Butte: 1-5" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Independence Pass*: 1-4" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

2pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
0" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Kebler Pass*: 3-7" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

2pts
3" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
1" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Monarch: 2-6" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Front Range
11/25pts (44%) ✔️5/5 (100%) 💥0/5 (0%) 0/5 (0%)

Cameron Pass: 1-5" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 9am (SNODAS)
1" Dec 8 5am (SNODAS)

East Portal*: 0-3" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

2pts
0" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
1" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Eldora: 0-2" Forecast Actual0" ✔️

3pts
0" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Hidden Valley*: 0-3" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

2pts
1" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
1" Dec 8 5am (Official)

St. Mary's Glacier*: 0-2" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

3pts
0" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
1" Dec 8 5am (Official)

I-70 East
12/35pts (34%) ✔️7/7 (100%) 💥0/7 (0%) 0/7 (0%)

A-Basin: 1-4" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

2pts
1" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Berthoud Pass: 1-5" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 9am (SNODAS)
0" Dec 8 5am (SNODAS)

Echo Mountain*: 0-1" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

4pts
0" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
1" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Jones Pass: 1-5" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

1pts
1" Dec 7 8am (SNOTEL)
0" Dec 8 5am (SNOTEL)

Keystone: 1-3" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

2pts
1" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Loveland S.A.: 1-5" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

1pts
1" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Winter Park: 1-5" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

I-70 West
11/35pts (31%) ✔️7/7 (100%) 💥0/7 (0%) 0/7 (0%)

Beaver Creek: 2-6" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Breckenridge S.A.: 1-4" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

2pts
4" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Copper Mountain: 1-4" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

2pts
4" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Powderhorn: 1-4" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

2pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Ski Cooper*: 1-4" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

2pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
0" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Sunlight*: 2-5" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
0" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Vail Pass*: 1-5" Forecast Actual N/A

Vail S.A.: 2-6" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

1pts
4" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Park Range / WY
0/20pts (0%) ✔️0/4 (0%) 💥1/4 (25%) 3/4 (75%)

Bluebird*: 2-6" Forecast Actual N/A

Buffalo Pass: 5-10" Forecast Actual3" ❌️

2" Dec 7 5am (SNOTEL)
1" Dec 8 5am (SNOTEL)
Note: SNOTEL recorded 0.5" of SWE change -- maybe 6"+ of snow fell, but wind may have stripped it from the station's depth gauge.

Rabbit Ears Pass: 3-7" Forecast Actual1" ❌️

1" Dec 7 5am (SNOTEL)
0" Dec 8 5am (SNOTEL)

Snowy Range*: 1-5" Forecast Actual7" 💥️

6" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
1" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Steamboat S.A.: 3-7" Forecast Actual2" ❌️

1" Dec 7 5am (Official)
1" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Southern Colorado / NM
15/35pts (42%) ✔️5/7 (71%) 💥2/7 (28%) 0/7 (0%)

Cuchara*: 0" Forecast Actual0" ✔️

5pts
0" Dec 7 5am (Estimated)
0" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Purgatory: 1-4" Forecast Actual5" 💥️

3" Dec 7 5am (Official)
2" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Red Mountain Pass: 3-7" Forecast Actual9" 💥️

8" Dec 7 9am (SNOTEL)
1" Dec 8 5am (SNOTEL)

Silverton S.A.*: 3-7" Forecast Actual7" ✔️

2pts
6" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)
1" Dec 8 5am (Estimated)

Taos S.A.: 0-1" Forecast Actual0" ✔️

4pts
0" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Telluride S.A.: 3-7" Forecast Actual6" ✔️

2pts
6" Dec 7 5am (Official)
0" Dec 8 5am (Official)

Wolf Creek: 0-3" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

2pts
0" Dec 7 5am (Official)
2" Dec 8 5am (Official)