Colorado Weather Forecast #161: Feb. 1, 2022 - Feb. 6, 2022

Updates on the coming frigid Tuesday-Wednesday storm.

This forecast is no longer valid.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

Updated Tue Feb 1, 2022 10:00am MST | Published Mon Jan 31, 2022

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through Feb. 7)

Northern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0-9"

Wed

0-4"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0-1"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

28%

Wed

8%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

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

2-8"

Wed

0-5"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

39%

Wed

17%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

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

1-8"

Wed

0-6"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

30%

Wed

13%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

Southern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

3-15"

Wed

1-15"

Thu

0-1"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

55%

Wed

29%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

Denver Metro

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

6am New Snow

2-4"

Wed

1-3"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Snow Accum. Chance

90%

Wed

82%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

23%

Sun

23%

Mon

0%

Tue

Current Conditions

A cold front is pushing down the Front Range right now, just making it past Denver. Temperatures will continue to plunge fairly consistently into Thursday morning. Can you spot the cold front on our latest satellite loop?

(via NOAA)
(via NOAA)

Storm Tuesday to Wednesday

No big changes since yesterday’s forecast. Models are coming into agreement about snow impacts and timing. The best snow will be in New Mexico and southern Colorado, in addition to along the Front Range thanks to a decent upslope as Arctic air filters into the region.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

If we look at air near the surface, it’s easy to see the frigid Arctic air mass and easterly upslope over the next couple of days:

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

This airmass makes it all the way down to the Mexican Plateau and will likely have significant impacts in western and central Texas.

Now let’s take a look at moisture. We can see some nice moisture embedded in westerly to southwesterly flow which is impacting southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. We can also see some more marginal moisture moving from east to west across the Colorado plains and into the Front Range.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Also note very dry air in northwest Colorado. This will be mostly a non-event from Steamboat to Cameron Pass, and areas along I-70 and near Aspen will likely only see modest totals.

Snow Totals

** Updated at 10am Feb. 1 **

Here’s what the Blend is showing for snowfall totals:

We’re not totally sold that Wolf Creek will perform that well (despite similar support from the CAIC’s WRF models), but it will still be a very nice couple of days up there for snow lovers. You can check out our forecast for Wolf Creek and many other individual areas in the verification tool which is posted at the end of this article.

In general though, a foot or three of snow is possible in the eastern San Juans, and throughout the higher Sangres down into New Mexico.

A foot of snow or more is also possible in the lower elevations of the foothills or even at the base of them (Boulder, Golden), though the low end is more like 7” or so. Totals will quickly drop off towards the east, and Denver International Airport may pick up only a few inches of snow. Here’s our forecast for the Front Range:

  • Fort Collins: 4-9”
  • Plains, north of I-76: 3-8”
  • Boulder: 7-14”
  • Golden: 7-14”
  • Foothills (lower elevations), north of I-70: 8-16”+
  • Denver, western metro area: 5-10”
  • Denver – near I-25: 3-9”
  • Denver – east of I-25: 2-7”
  • Plains, south of I-76: 2-6”
  • Foothills (lower elevations), south of I-70: 5-12”
  • Foothills above 8,000ft: 5-10”
  • Castle Rock and northern Palmer Divide: 2-7”
  • Colorado Springs and southern Palmer Divide: 4-9”

Note, we dropped the forecast for Colorado Springs a few inches this morning as models have consistently trended down for the area overnight. Last night, our forecast was 6-12”.

Winds will be mostly directly easterly, with perhaps a slight southerly component. This introduces some downsloping off the Palmer Divide, bringing lower totals for Castle Rock and the south Denver metro area, with higher totals for Colorado Springs and Fort Collins (due to the Cheyenne Ridge). If the track changes a bit, then this distribution could change.

Again, see the end of this article for our totals for various ski resorts and backcountry ski areas.

Snow will be light and fluffy across much of Colorado, with snow-liquid ratios of 15:1-20:1!

Snow Timings

Jet-induced banding will kick things off Tuesday afternoon in parts of the northern mountains and foothills. Banding will become more widespread by the afternoon, likely stepping onto the plains / Front Range urban corridor. Around this time, the upslope from the east will begin to deepen and snow will intensify in the Front Range foothills and increasingly across the urban corridor, with widespread heavier snowfall around 6-7pm.

Snow will also increase in coverage and intensity on Tuesday afternoon.

Here’s what the NAM model is showing:

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

This will be a fairly prolonged event outside of northwestern Colorado, with snow falling for over 24 hours, though not particularly strongly in many areas. With high snow-liquid ratios (15:1 to 20:1+), even consistently lighter snowfall will accumulate nicely.

On Wednesday, the best snow will continue to be focused on the eastern San Juans and in the Sangres. Snowfall rates will uptick in the Summit County/Grand County/eastern Eagle County areas and along parts of the Divide as northwest flow moves in behind the trough axis. Subsidence and dry air quickly shuts this down, but Wednesday afternoon-ish is the best chance for the aforementioned areas to pick up the best snow totals.

By Wednesday evening/night, things will start winding down across Colorado. However, model guidance is showing a strong cold front pushing down the Front Range, with a swath of heavier snow ahead of it and very cold air behind it. Snow will quickly clear out after midnight and into Thursday morning.

Low Temperatures

As has been hyped, temperatures will likely drop into the negatives across most of the state on Wednesday night. How extreme the low temperatures get will depend on cloud cover – if precipitation clears out earlier then we’ll have a chance of hitting some of the numbers on the map below, and then some:

Snow Forecast Comparison and Verification Tool

Last updated Thursday February 3, 2021 10am.

Forecast Start: Tuesday February 1, 2021 5am

Forecast End: Thursday February 3, 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 Tue Feb. 1 10am
✔️ Verified
87%
29/33
Score
27%
45/165
🎯 Spread
5.2
average
💥 High
1
3%
❌ Low
3
9%

Note: () A few small adjustments this morning: lowered Breck, Copper, Vail, BC, WP, JP, CB, Telluride forecasts by an inch.

Central Colorado
11/30pts (36%) ✔️6/6 (100%) 💥0/6 (0%) 0/6 (0%)

Aspen Highlands: 3-7" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

2pts
3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Aspen Mountain: 3-7" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

2pts
4" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Aspen Snowmass: 3-7" Forecast Actual5" ✔️

2pts
4" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Buttermilk: 3-7" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

2pts
2" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Cottonwood Pass*: 4-9" Forecast Actual N/A

Crested Butte S.A.: 3-8" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

1pts
2" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Independence Pass*: 4-9" Forecast Actual N/A

Kebler Pass*: 3-8" Forecast Actual N/A

Monarch: 5-10" Forecast Actual6" ✔️

2pts
5" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Front Range
1/10pts (10%) ✔️1/2 (50%) 💥0/2 (0%) 1/2 (50%)

Cameron Pass: 2-6" Forecast Actual2" ✔️

1pts
2" Feb 2 5am (SNOTEL)
0" Feb 3 5am (SNOTEL)

East Portal*: 4-9" Forecast Actual N/A

Eldora: 5-10" Forecast Actual3" ❌️

3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Hidden Valley*: 4-9" Forecast Actual N/A

St. Mary's Glacier*: 4-9" Forecast Actual N/A

I-70 East
7/30pts (23%) ✔️5/6 (83%) 💥0/6 (0%) 1/6 (16%)

A-Basin: 4-9" Forecast Actual3" ❌️

3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Berthoud Pass: 4-9" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

2pts
3" Feb 2 5am (SNOTEL)
1" Feb 3 5am (SNOTEL)

Echo Mountain: 5-10" Forecast Actual N/A

Jones Pass: 3-8" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

1pts
3" Feb 2 5am (SNOTEL)
1" Feb 3 5am (SNOTEL)

Keystone: 3-8" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

1pts
3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Loveland S.A.: 4-9" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

2pts
3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Winter Park: 3-8" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

1pts
2" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

I-70 West
5/35pts (14%) ✔️6/7 (85%) 💥0/7 (0%) 1/7 (14%)

Beaver Creek: 2-7" Forecast Actual4" ✔️

3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Breckenridge S.A.: 3-8" Forecast Actual5" ✔️

1pts
4" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Copper Mountain: 3-8" Forecast Actual5" ✔️

1pts
4" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Powderhorn: 0-4" Forecast Actual0" ✔️

2pts
0" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Ski Cooper: 3-8" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

1pts
3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Sunlight: 1-5" Forecast Actual0" ❌️

0" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Vail Pass*: 3-7" Forecast Actual N/A

Vail S.A.: 2-7" Forecast Actual3" ✔️

2" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Park Range / WY
10/25pts (40%) ✔️5/5 (100%) 💥0/5 (0%) 0/5 (0%)

Bluebird*: 0-4" Forecast Actual0" ✔️

2pts
0" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Buffalo Pass: 0-4" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

2pts
0" Feb 2 5am (SNOTEL)
1" Feb 3 5am (SNOTEL)

Rabbit Ears Pass: 0-4" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

2pts
0" Feb 2 5am (SNOTEL)
1" Feb 3 5am (SNOTEL)

Snowy Range: 0-4" Forecast Actual0" ✔️

2pts
0" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Steamboat S.A.: 0-3" Forecast Actual1" ✔️

2pts
1" Feb 2 5am (Official)
0" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Southern Colorado / NM
11/35pts (31%) ✔️6/7 (85%) 💥1/7 (14%) 0/7 (0%)

Cuchara*: 12-24" Forecast Actual16" ✔️

2pts
12" Feb 2 5am (SNOTEL)
4" Feb 3 5am (SNOTEL)

Purgatory: 4-9" Forecast Actual6" ✔️

2pts
3" Feb 2 5am (Official)
3" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Red Mountain Pass: 5-10" Forecast Actual5" ✔️

2pts
3" Feb 2 5am (SNOTEL)
2" Feb 3 5am (SNOTEL)

Silverton S.A.*: 5-10" Forecast Actual7" ✔️

2pts
6" Feb 2 5am (Official)
1" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Taos S.V.: 15-30" Forecast Actual27" ✔️

2pts
20" Feb 2 5am (Official)
7" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Telluride S.A.: 3-8" Forecast Actual5" ✔️

1pts
2" Feb 2 5am (Official)
3" Feb 3 5am (Official)

Wolf Creek: 12-24" Forecast Actual27" 💥️

14" Feb 2 5am (Official)
13" Feb 3 5am (Official)