Colorado Weather Forecast #172: Feb. 24, 2022 - Mar. 3, 2022

A little bit more snow on Friday, then warming and dry the next week. Next storm chances are the following weekend.

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Updated Thu Feb 24, 2022 6:00pm MST | Published Thu Feb 24, 2022

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through Mar. 3)

Northern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0-3"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

2%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

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

0-1"

Fri

0-3"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

0%

Fri

1%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

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"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

Southern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0-3"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

2%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

Denver Metro

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

6am New Snow

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

6am Snow Accum. Chance

56%

Fri

63%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

Summary

  • Monday - Thursday system has cleared out. Snow lingers in the northern mountains with NW flow, but SW flow will reduce coverage into the day.
  • The forecast generally verified or overperformed, the only underperformance was in the Front Range. Totals of 2-4ft. in western Colorado.
  • Another weak wave of snow on Friday. 0-3” for northern Colorado. Maybe a band of two producing totals of 2-5”, but chances are low these would impact ski areas.
  • Warming and dry well into next week, highs in the low 70s possible for Denver by Thursday.
  • Next storm is that following weekend, likely NW flow.

Storm Retrospective

Our potent system is now downstream of us and snow is tapering off, though we’ll see another round of lighter snow tomorrow as a weak shortwave works its way into the region.

Here’s how satellite imagery over our area currently looks:

(via NOAA)
(via NOAA)

If you look closely at the Front Range, you can see the results of some southwest to northwest oriented bands of snow, and a general upslope pattern (snow on the Palmer Divide, near the foothills, and on the Cheyenne Ridge, with no snow a ways east down I-76), though that component of snowfall was very underwhelming.

We broadbrushed a general forecast due to the duration and complexity of the event, in addition to the fact that we’ve been quite busy with other stuff. In general, this storm met or exceeded expectations in the locations that were favored, but struggled to get into the lower end of the forecast ranges for areas that weren’t favored.

Moist, subtropical southwesterly flow was predominant and it’s no surprise that southern and western Colorado did so well. These areas saw warmer temperatures – watching snow stake cams, there were periods of time where temperatures got above freezing in the mountains and melted some of the fresh stuff).

Those of us in northern and eastern Colorado were under an Arctic air mass with record low temperatures, and southwesterly flow is not conducive for snow in our area. The primary driver of snowfall east of Vail Pass and along/north of I-70 was jet-induced banding, as a jet max was directly overhead, in addition to some frontogenesis, which sort of mixed up the results (Winter Park getting more snow than Copper, for instance).

In the Front Range, the initial forecast from before Monday expected the upslope to have a bit deeper moisture, but that was simply not the case. Many forecasts, particularly for the foothills, busted low as the shallow layer of the airmass was drier and colder than model guidance was showing. Once models caught up with this reality, the Front Range forecast was dropped significantly.

As the system departed our region, we got a shot of NW flow last night but shallow moisture made it mostly unproductive for the northern mountains, no surprise there. There are still some pockets of orographically-induced snowfall in some of the mountains.

Here’s a map of estimated snow totals. This should only serve as a general idea, but it does capture the distribution of the best snowfall and how quickly totals fell off in northern and eastern Colorado:

Shortwave on Friday

A shortwave on Friday will bring an additional shot of snow, though nothing too significant. Right now, the Blend captures the potential impacts pretty well:

In general, the forecast for central and northern Colorado by Saturday morning is for 0-3” of snow, but you can see that a few narrow bands of heavier snow are in play and could produce totals up to 5” or so.

West of Vail Pass, enhanced snow will already be going on Friday morning, but east of the pass, better snowfall rates aren’t progged until about 11am. This would taper off in the evening.

Warming into Next Week

After Friday, most of Colorado will quickly warm up as ridging takes holds over the western United States. Though there looks to be a few disturbances in zonal flow aloft, they’re very weak and don’t have much moisture. Still, this puts flurries in the forecast for parts of western and northern Colorado throughout the week.

Otherwise, Denver could see temperatures in the low 70s by Thursday:

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Storm Next Weekend

The next system looks to impact us next weekend. Right now, this looks like it will likely be a northwest flow event.

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