Colorado Weather Forecast #182: Mar. 30, 2022 - Apr. 6, 2022

More snow on the way, temperatures remain cooler into next week.

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Updated Wed Mar 30, 2022 12:00pm MST | Published Wed Mar 30, 2022

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through April 7)

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

0-4"

Mon

0-3"

Tue

1-6"

Wed

0-3"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

1%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

14%

Mon

3%

Tue

25%

Wed

8%

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

0-3"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0"

Sun

1-6"

Mon

0-2"

Tue

1-6"

Wed

0-3"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

1%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

23%

Mon

4%

Tue

20%

Wed

7%

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

0-3"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0-1"

Sun

0-5"

Mon

0-4"

Tue

0-4"

Wed

0-2"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

3%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

10%

Mon

5%

Tue

4%

Wed

1%

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

0-2"

Mon

0-4"

Tue

0-2"

Wed

0"

Thu

6am Powder Potential

11%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

10%

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

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

0%

Mon

2%

Tue

23%

Wed

20%

Thu

Storm Retrospective

Day 1

Phase one of the storm (Monday overnight to Tuesday morning) was warm and mired in instability, which caused very spotty snow totals, generally much lower than models were predicting.

We knew this was likely and our forecast was considerably lower than many global models, but even then, generally a low bust for the San Juans, not a lot of exciting reports that morning. We weren’t expecting much snow at all outside of the San Juans, which proved correct.

  • Our forecast for Wolf Creek, Silverton, and Purgatory was 6-12”. However, this ended up being 2-5”. Large distribution differences due to instability and elevation – Red Mountain Pass (which would be included in this forecast area) picked up 8”.

  • Telluride forecast: 4-8”. Actual: 1”. However, 7” of snow fell soon after the resort opened, so more of an issue with timing being a few hours off.

In general the southern mountains picked up 2-7” of snow, the central mountains, 0-2”, and everywhere else none.

Day 2

Better westerly and northwesterly flow arrived by yesterday afternoon, along with colder air. We expected snowfall production to increase across the state, with some rain on the Front Range, and a powder day likely for many areas this morning. Seems to be the case!

Bust High

  • Beaver Creek forecast: 3-7”. Actual: 8”.

Verified

  • Telluride forecast: 4-8”. Actual: 7”.
  • Winter Park forecast: 4-8”. Actual: 7”.
  • Wolf Creek forecast: 4-8”. Actual: 6”. (11” so far)
  • Monarch forecast: 2-6”. Actual: 6”.
  • Vail forecast: 3-7”. Actual: 6”.
  • Steamboat forecast: 3-7”. Actual: 6”.
  • Loveland, A-Basin, Keystone forecast: 3-7”. Actual: 4-6”.
  • Aspen resorts forecast: 3-7”. Actual: 3-6”.
  • Purgatory forecast: 3-7”. Actual: 4”.
  • Breck, Copper forecast: 3-7”. Actual: 4”.
  • Crested Butte forecast: 1-5”. Actual: 1”.

Bust Low

  • Silverton forecast: 5-10”. Actual: 1”. Skeptical about this as the somewhat nearby Red Mountain Pass SNOTEL has picked up around 10” of snow. Yes, microclimates and such, but still, doesn’t seem right. This same thing started happening late in the season last year too and a patroller mentioned that the snow reports weren’t that accurate – maybe the same thing?

The Denver metro area saw 0.1-0.6” of liquid precipitation, which is on the low end of expectations. Downsloping and quick-moving cells prevented many areas from seeing as consistent of precipitation as we’d like. The urban corridor also saw 0” to Trace amounts of snow over night, which was expected (Castle Rock picked up an inch).

The foothills south of Boulder County did well, with 2-6” of snow, which was in line with our forecast. However, Boulder County and north only saw T-3”. Eldora did verify our 2-6” forecast, reporting 3” this morning.

Current Conditions

Right now, the main system is downwind of us, and light snow continues in the mountains with northwest flow. There’s a shortwave wrapping around the backside of it which could intensify snow production a bit today and deliver another round of precipitation to the Front Range, but nothing significant.

Next System: Thursday Night

The next system has continued to trend towards missing us to the north. Despite decent precipitable moisture, there’s just not a lot of large-scale lift with this shallow disturbance. This also means flow will be more westerly than northwesterly, favoring the western mountains, with little snow expected for Summit and Grand counties and especially the Front Range.

For areas west of Vail, Cameron, and Monarch passes, a general forecast of 1-5” seems sensible. Otherwise, maybe 0-3”, perhaps up to 4” for Breck and Copper. More important than snow production is that this should keep temperatures below freezing at elevation into the weekend, staving off the typical accelerated melting of springtime. Still, resort closures are imminent, with a few ski areas closing after this weekend.

Snow Potential: Sunday to Monday

Despite Thursday petering out, we’ve seen a trend towards the better for Sunday and into Monday, with broad troughing over the region and perhaps some low-level low pressure over the desert southwest.

There looks to be quite a lot of moisture with this system, and just enough lift to turn it into snow (and rain, for the Front Range).

A significant convergence boundary is showing up on models, which favors central Colorado. The Aspen resorts, Vail, Beaver Creek, and maybe Breck, Copper, Crested Butte, or Monarch, could see a powder day on Monday morning, with other areas getting more significant snow after Monday morning.

Next Week

Snow potential (and cooler temperatures) continue into next week with zonal flow in place over our area. Another disturbance looks to slip down flow aloft around Wednesday, which could deliver a nice shot of northwest flow and perhaps some decent snow totals for northern Colorado (Steamboat, Grand County, Summit County).

Ridging, and thus drier, warmer weather, looks to return for that following weekend.

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