Colorado Weather Forecast #176: Mar. 8, 2022 - Mar. 13, 2022

Another, colder storm starts tonight, with additional storm chances in the pipe into next week.

This forecast is no longer valid.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

Updated Tue Mar 8, 2022 1:00pm MST | Published Tue Mar 8, 2022

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through Mar. 15)

Northern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0-15"

Wed

4-10"

Thu

0-1"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0-3"

Mon

0-1"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

34%

Wed

69%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

6%

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

0-2"

Wed

3-8"

Thu

0-3"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0-3"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

1%

Wed

47%

Thu

9%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

3%

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

0-3"

Wed

2-8"

Thu

0-4"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0-2"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

3%

Wed

46%

Thu

10%

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

0"

Wed

2-7"

Thu

1-8"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0-1"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Powder Potential

0%

Wed

37%

Thu

24%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

0%

Tue

Denver Metro

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

6am New Snow

0"

Wed

2-4"

Thu

0-1"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

6am Snow Accum. Chance

3%

Wed

94%

Thu

69%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

7%

Mon

0%

Tue

Summary

  • Storm tonight into Friday morning (really, Thursday night).
  • Much colder. Lows on Friday morning well into negatives for most of Colorado, including possibly on the plains and in the Front Range.
  • Storm is somewhat moisture starved, but we generally have a 4-10” forecast for most mountain ranges, with a few favored spots well into the double digits.
  • Storm totals have been trending down as energy splits more and the main low digs further south.
  • Another storm on Sunday, but looks very weak.
  • Better storm potential next Wednesday.

Storm Retrospective: Mar. 4-7

A two part storm hit Colorado this weekend. Due to the proximity of the two systems involved, uncertainty in the forecast was very high even as snow began to fall.

The storm generally overperformed to the west of the Divide, with nice totals in the San Juans (Wolf Creek: 23”, Purgatory: 17”). Northern Colorado did well, with 15” reported at Steamboat. There were some nice surprises with Powderhorn (20”), Sunlight (16”), and Monarch (17”), which were generally not favored by us compared to other resorts in those areas.

Conversely, this was another underperforming storm near and east of the Divide. With the second system coming in further south than forecasted, the upslope on the Front Range ended up being more northerly which downsloped Fort Collins and impacted totals in the foothills and east of the Divide (like Eldora). The eastern I-70 resorts barely made it into their forecast ranges, if they even did at all. And we thought we had a conservative forecast!

Overall though, this storm overperformed and our forecast came in on the dry side.

You can check out the full comparison and final totals here and see how that affected the overall rankings of forecasters and weather models.

This was the first storm where a weather model outperformed our forecast!

Rank Name Type Verified Score Bias
1 HpWx App Model 84% 👑 11% Dry
2 NAM 12km Model 78% 19% Slight Dry
3 NBM Prob. 50/90 Model 78% 15% Slight Wet
4 ECMWF (Euro) Model 77% 32% 👑 Dry
5 Thomas Horner (HpWx) Forecaster 69% 25% Dry
6 OpenSnow Forecaster 69% 20% None
7 NWS NDFD Hybrid 63% 9% Very Dry
8 NBM Prob. 25/75 Model 63% 14% Very Dry
9 CAIC WRF Model 57% 16% Dry
10 GFS Model 54% 16% Wet
11 NBM Deterministic Model 27% 8% Very dry

No surprise that the Euro did the best (it verified just as well as the NAM, but with a much smaller spread) – it has a much better handle on interacting systems and closed lows, unlike the GFS, which really struggles. The Euro has been slowly climbing the ranks all season to the top after struggling early on, which is good to see since we typically weigh its guidance higher than other models.

Snow lingered into yesterday with 0-4” of additional snow at ski areas, but this morning features mostly clear skies across the state – though clouds and light snow are still present over parts of the central and northern Colorado mountains as northwest flow continues behind a weak shortwave.

Next Storm: Tonight to Friday Morning

Snow in the mountains will increase in coverage and intensity from midnight into tomorrow morning as a shortwave drops down the Intermountain West.

This is a deeper wave than what we experienced over the weekend, which means colder air.

Frigid Temperatures

Temperatures on Thursday night / Friday morning will be absolutely frigid, with record lows possible though not entirely likely.

You can see that we’ve gone off the bottom of the temperature color scale again, with lows near Kremmling potentially bottoming out near -50 degrees, and that in general, our temperature color scale kind of sucks below 10 degrees.

Also note that you can see the results of temperature inversions overnight. In this view of the San Luis valley, check out how temperatures in the low reaches of the Sangres and San Juans are in the single digits, while colder air has sunk into the valley, with temperatures in the negatives.

The lowest temperature anomalies look to be located north of the Colorado border, where skies should be more clear, but any areas that see cloud cover clear out on Thursday night have a shot at approaching record low temperatures. This looks less likely in southern Colorado where clouds may still linger.

Snow Totals

Flow on Wednesday morning will initially be southwesterly, but turns northwesterly by Wednesday night. Moisture is the limiting factor for this storm – there’s not much of it. The forecast is trending towards more westerly flow initially, which is really starting to trend down snow totals for Wolf Creek.

Totals by Friday aren’t as exciting as perhaps some may be hoping. Here are some quartile ranges:

…and the raw deterministic numbers:

Snow Totals Through Friday - Trend

Here’s how the deterministic has trended over the past few days.

(Note: the individual numbers are from the Blend. The forecast in parentheses is our forecast, which may not match).

Area Trend Current 24hrs Ago 48hrs Ago 72hrs Ago
A-Basin 7” (4-8”) 8” 9” 8”
Beaver Creek - 7” (5-10”) 8” 8” 8”
Breck 6” (4-8”) 7” 9” 8”
Colorado Springs - 3” (2-4”) 4” 4” 3”
Denver - 4” (2-5”) 5” 4” 4”
Eldora 7” (2-6”) 9” 9” 8”
Powderhorn - 5” (2-6”) 5” 6” 5”
Steamboat 10” (7-14”) 10” 10” 20”
Snowmass 6” (6-12”) 8” 9” 9”
Taos 9” (10-20”) 12” 7” 6”
Telluride 7” (6-12”) 7” 8” 9”
Winter Park 7” (5-10”) 9” 9” 8”
Wolf Creek - 8” (5-10”) 12” 8” 6”

Our Snow Forecast

Our forecast is a different than the above numbers in some places. We’re eying northern Colorado (particularly Buffalo Pass) and the Sangres (Taos) as the winners with this storm. It also takes into account the continued trend for this system to dig further south with the associated decrease in total snow.

Last updated Tuesday March 8, 2022 1pm. Final results not recorded yet.
Scores and results are only preliminary and will change quite a bit over the course of the storm.

Forecast Start: Wednesday March 9, 2022 12am

Forecast End: Friday March 11, 2022 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 Mar. 8 12pm
✔️ Verified
N/A
of 41
Score
N/A
of 205
🎯 Spread
5.0
average
💥 High
N/A
of 41
❌ Low
N/A
of 41

Central Colorado

Aspen Highlands: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Aspen Mountain: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Aspen Snowmass: 6-12" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Buttermilk: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Cottonwood Pass*: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Crested Butte S.A.: 3-7" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Independence Pass*: 6-12" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Kebler Pass*: 6-12" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Monarch: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Front Range

Cameron Pass: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

East Portal*: 2-6" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Eldora: 2-6" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Hidden Valley*: 2-6" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

St. Mary's Glacier*: 3-7" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

I-70 East

A-Basin: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Berthoud Pass: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Echo Mountain*: 3-7" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Jones Pass: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Keystone: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Loveland S.A.: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Winter Park: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

I-70 West

Beaver Creek: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Breckenridge S.A.: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Copper Mountain: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Powderhorn: 2-6" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Ski Cooper: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Sunlight: 3-7" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Vail Pass*: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Vail S.A.: 4-9" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Park Range / WY

Bluebird*: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Buffalo Pass: 10-20" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Rabbit Ears Pass: 6-12" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Snowy Range: 4-9" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Steamboat S.A.: 7-14" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Southern Colorado / NM

Cuchara*: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Purgatory: 4-8" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Red Mountain Pass: 6-12" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Silverton S.A.*: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Taos S.V.: 10-20" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Telluride S.A.: 6-12" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Wolf Creek: 5-10" Forecast Actual (so far) N/A

Timings

Northern Colorado: Probability of precipitation increases significantly after midnight tonight, with the best snow chances from Wednesday morning to Thursday afternoon.

Southern Colorado: The best snow chances are after 6am on Wednesday, tapering off pretty quickly by Thursday morning. However, for Wolf Creek, the best chances look to be on Thursday.

Cold front: for the Front Range, a strong cold front pushes down late tonight / tomorrow morning. The best snow chances are from Wednesday morning to Thursday night, but particularly Wednesday evening. Banded snowfall could make a mess of the evening commute.

Storm Sunday to Monday

Friday and Saturday are dry, before a weak shortwave gets snow going again on Sunday afternoon and into early Monday morning. This is just a weak disturbance and will only bring a few inches of snow to northern and central Colorado.

Storm Next Wednesday AM to Friday AM

After a dry Monday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, a broader trough drops into the western United States which should result in another decent multi-day storm impacting most mountains and the Front Range.

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