Colorado Weather Forecast #183: Apr. 22, 2022 - Apr. 30, 2022

Windy, snowy weekend, then another long stretch of warm and dry conditions.

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Updated Fri Apr 22, 2022 11:00am MST | Published Fri Apr 22, 2022

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through April 29)

Northern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

1-8"

Sat

1-10"

Sun

0-6"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

6am Powder Potential

26%

Sat

35%

Sun

12%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

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"

Sat

1-5"

Sun

1-8"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

6am Powder Potential

4%

Sat

20%

Sun

43%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

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

1-6"

Sat

0-4"

Sun

0-6"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

6am Powder Potential

15%

Sat

11%

Sun

13%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

Southern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

1-6"

Sat

0-2"

Sun

0-2"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

6am Powder Potential

18%

Sat

0%

Sun

1%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

Denver Metro

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

6am New Snow

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

6am Snow Accum. Chance

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

23%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

Current Conditions

Dangerous conditions today. Our fire weather situation is historic, with much of the Front Range and Colorado high plains seeing “Extremely Critical” risk due to bone dry air, dry fuels, and strong winds. Some dry lightning concerns are present for this afternoon.

Winds in the mountains are strong this morning and will step down to the Front Range and Plains by noon, with widespread gusts of 50-60mph+ across much of eastern Colorado in the afternoon. Temperatures will be warm in the Front Range (80s), thanks in part to strong downsloping winds.

These are driven by the jet stream which has sagged over our region due to a strong system swinging through this weekend. Below is an animation which shows it undergoing some pretty intense lee cyclogenesis – unfortunately, we wont really be getting much of that action.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Mountain Snow: Friday to Monday

Overall

Here is a glance at potential snow impacts from this afternoon through Monday morning:

Friday Discussion

The first round of rain and snow will hit western Colorado this afternoon, with pockets of heavy rain and snow pushing into the mountains by 4-6pm. Temperatures will initially be warmer, with the snow level at about 9,000-10,000ft. and thus rain in the valleys. There should be some thunder.

This initial round of heavier snow pushes through by 9pm and should bring a few inches of snow to many mountain ranges, but likely only at the higher elevations. A dry slot moves across the state on Friday night before moisture returns around midnight with westerly - southwesterly flow.

Bands of heavier snow will increase in coverage through 6am on Saturday. These should make for difficult driving conditions and decent totals for areas that see more consistent banding, but they don’t look to be incredibly widespread and some mountain areas will likely get skunked.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Friday Snow Totals

With the latest model data, we’re now expecting about 2-6” of snow by Saturday morning for most mountain areas at 10,000ft and above, and 1-5” of snow for mountain areas below that elevation. East of Vail Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, and Monarch Pass, (so Summit County, Grand County, RMNP) you can knock that forecast down by an inch or two.

The Flat Tops, Park Range, west Elks (Ruby Range), and parts of the western San Juans are still favored for more consistent 4-8” totals but there isn’t widespread model support for this.

The eastern San Juans and Sangres won’t get much snow at all, maybe 0-4”.

Saturday Discussion

Flow becomes northwesterly and a bit drier on Saturday. Snowfall coverage should be pretty decent across the central and northern Colorado mountains through noon on Saturday, before dynamics and moisture become less favorable. Winds will be very strong along the Divide on Saturday (60-80mph).

In the afternoon, banding and instability will cause snow to become much less widespread in coverage and organized into bands/cells of heavy precipitation and some thunder. A few areas will get lucky, but most mountains will generally miss out on heavier snowfall on Saturday afternoon. Coverage continues to decrease into Saturday night and Sunday morning. Can’t rule out orographic flow being decent enough to keep pockets of snow lingering over some areas favored by northwest flow (such as Berthoud Pass), which could add up.

(via WeatherBell)
(via WeatherBell)

Saturday Snow Totals

For most northern and central Colorado mountains, Saturday will bring 3-7” of snow. Again, strong banding will produce some localized surprises. The eastern reaches (i.e. near the Divide…Loveland and A-Basin) will struggle a bit more but blended forecast still has the forecast in the above range, if at the lower end. In southern Colorado, 0-3” for the San Juans and Sangres.

Sunday Discussion

The focus shifts to east of the Divide on Sunday and into early Monday morning as the system clears far enough east to finally unlock a stronger colder front for our region, which will get a more easterly upslope going. Until this occurs on Sunday afternoon, most snow in the mountains will just be small cells driven by instability/convection, which wont amount to much.

On Sunday afternoon, snow will ramp up along the Divide and to the east in northern Colorado. The upslope is shallow enough where the heaviest snow will be well east of the Divide, with areas like Loveland, A-Basin, Berthoud Pass, and RMNP only picking up scraps. The heaviest stuff will most likely be more directly over Peak to Peak highway, Idaho Springs, and down to Bailey.

Snow wraps up on Monday morning, except near Raton Pass, which wraps up before noon.

Sunday Snow Totals

By Monday morning, would expect Eldora (which is closed) to pick up 2-6”, with T-4” for the resorts near the Divide and Berthoud Pass, and down into the Tenmile / Mosquito Range and Sawatch Range. Parts of the IPW, RMNP, and Mt. Evans / Bierstadt may get 1-5”. Expecting 1-6” of snow in the foothills to the west of the Palmer Divide and north, and also in the Sangres and Wet Mountains. For Denver, Colorado Springs, the Palmer Divide, etc. see below.

Rain and Snow for the Front Range: Sunday and Monday

Today will feature temperatures in the 80s, strong winds, and extremely critical fire weather. Can’t rule out a weak, isolated dry thunderstorm or two, with potential for more widespread severe weather near the eastern Colorado border.

The powerful system impacting our region will bring changes to eastern Colorado on Saturday. Temperatures will drop into the 50s / low 60s thanks to a weak cold front moving into place by the afternoon, and gusty winds will still be a concern. Significantly colder air wont be in place until Sunday afternoon.

Behind this stronger cold front, an easterly upslope will get rain and snow going in the foothills and across the I-25 corridor. On the Palmer Divide, Trace-4” of snow is possible. For all these areas below 8,000ft., melting and compaction is a big concern, and two inches of snow may really only result in some slush on the ground initially.

In Colorado Springs and Denver, tough to say who is more favored for snow due to the winds being almost due easterly…but we’re talking about the difference between 0-1” of snow and 0-2” of snow. Right now, looks like the western reaches of Colorado Springs and western/southern suburbs of Denver could get up to 2-3” of snow but as said, most of this will melt and compact when it hits the ground so it wont look like much and likely wont have any serious travel impacts.

Rain and snow ramps up on Sunday afternoon, with the snow level initially around 6,500ft or so and dropping to 5,000ft. by Monday morning. Temperatures will likely get below freezing on Monday morning across the I-25 corridor.

This image shows the snow level and probability of precipitation for Denver. This is likely to change as we get closer to Sunday.

Long Range

Across the state, looking dry and increasingly warm until some marginal precipitation chances by the weekend.

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