Colorado Weather Discussion #162: Feb. 2, 2022 - Feb. 6, 2022

Denver Cyclone impacts Front Range totals, more snow is on the way for the mountains.

This forecast is no longer valid.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

Updated Wed Feb 2, 2022 1:00pm MST | Published Wed Feb 2, 2022

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through Feb. 9)

Northern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0-1"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0-1"

Wed

6am Powder Potential

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

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

0-2"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0-1"

Wed

6am Powder Potential

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

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

0-2"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

6am Powder Potential

1%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

Southern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

1-12"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

6am Powder Potential

18%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

Denver Metro

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

6am New Snow

1-2"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

6am Snow Accum. Chance

93%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

14%

Sun

7%

Mon

0%

Tue

29%

Wed

Retrospective and Current Conditions

The first wave of snow has moved through much of Colorado, though as expected, consistent snow continues to hold on in southern Colorado and in New Mexico. Totals down there this morning were appreciable:

  • Taos: 20”
  • Wolf Creek: 14”
  • Cuchara: 12”+
  • Silverton: 6”
  • Monarch: 5”

Most other areas in Colorado only picked up a few inches and are sitting right at the bottom of our expected forecast ranges. With a few more inches on the way this evening, we’ll hopefully see most areas verify. We were a little pessimistic going into this event (we dropped our forecast twice during the leadup to this storm) so no big surprise here.

If you don’t look too closely at this map of analyzed snow totals for this morning (it’s definitely quite a bit off in spots), you can see that distributions are generally in line with expectations – lots of dry air in northwest Colorado, and very decent totals in the San Juans and Sangres.

You can also see that in the Front Range, the best accumulations from last night were located between the foothills and I-25. The culprit for this was the Denver Cyclone. We realized this feature would have a good chance of making an appearance last night, and wrote an article/weather update for Weather5280 discussing its potential implication on Front Range snow totals – namely, moving the best accumulations out of the foothills and more along I-25 itself.

Here’s a radar loop of the Denver Cyclone organizing some stronger bands of snow over the metro area late last night:

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Sure enough, some of the best totals from this phase of the storm ended up in the Denver metro area, especially since this feature tapped into some warm air aloft and produced snow-liquid ratios as high as 30:1 – absolutely blower pow!

(via CoCoRaHS)
(via CoCoRaHS)

The Denver Cyclone certainly interfered with the easterly upslope, and the foothills from Nederland to Conifer did worse than expected. In fact, totals across the foothills have largely been on the lower end of expectations – the air has just not been moist enough to bring snow too high up in elevation. Eldora is reporting 3” this morning, a few inches short of our low end, and doesn’t seem likely to get into that range considering today’s modest snowfall forecast.

More Snow on the Way

Light snow continues across the Front Range this afternoon, and we’re expecting coverage to increase into the evening before things wrap up tonight. As a trough axis begins to sweep across Colorado, we’ll see winds finally turn northwesterly, allowing the northern, central, and western ranges to get another quick shot of snow this evening before drier air takes hold across the state. The exception is Steamboat / the Park Range, which is just too far north to be picking up some of this moisture – in line with our forecast of 0-3”.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Meanwhile, the eastern San Juans and the Sangres continue to get pounded with southwesterly flow, and will continue to do so into this evening thanks to the positive tilt of the trough and the development of a low over New Mexico.

In general, not expecting much more snow for the northern and central mountains, though the map below is likely underdoing it:

The latest high resolution runs suggest more like 1-4” of additional snow from this morning through tomorrow morning. That should get us into the forecast range for most areas considering we’re about an inch shy across the board.

Just not a very exciting storm outside of southern Colorado, which we hoped to communicate with our earlier forecast. Long duration light snowfall does add up to several inches in spots, but it’s not very fun to witness in real time.

Even then, this storm has no indication of overperforming, and we currently aren’t seeing much “bust high” potential (except for Denver!), just trying to squeak into the lower end of our forecast ranges.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing very little snowfall until about two weeks from now.

Here’s the verification tool, which we’ve updated with observations from this morning.

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)