Colorado Weather Forecast #184: Apr. 24, 2022 - Apr. 30, 2022

Last day of snow before another stretch of warmer, drier weather.

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Updated Sun Apr 24, 2022 1:00pm MST | Published Sun Apr 24, 2022

By Thomas Horner

7-Day Snow Planner (Through May 1)

Northern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0-10"

Mon

0-1"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0"

Sun

6am Powder Potential

25%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

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

2-12"

Mon

0-1"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

0-1"

Sat

0"

Sun

6am Powder Potential

67%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

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

0-13"

Mon

0-1"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

6am Powder Potential

26%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

Southern Mountains

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

6am New Snow

0-7"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

6am Powder Potential

21%

Mon

0%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

Denver Metro

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

6am New Snow

0"

Mon

0"

Tue

0"

Wed

0"

Thu

0"

Fri

0"

Sat

0"

Sun

6am Snow Accum. Chance

2%

Mon

1%

Tue

0%

Wed

0%

Thu

0%

Fri

0%

Sat

0%

Sun

Retrospective

The weather over the past couple days has been as exciting as advertised, in both the mountains and on the plains. Here were some notable wind gusts over the past 48 hours:

Max Gust Location
90mph CO-72 / CO-93 (Golden)
86mph Colorado City
77mph Huntsman Mesa
76mph Breck Peak 8
74mph Burlington
74mph Monarch SA
73mph Buena Vista
66mph Wolf Creek Pass
64mph Limon
60mph Boulder
57mph I-25 / I-225

Temperatures on Friday were exceptionally warm.

High Location
95° La Junta
92° Pueblo
90° Brighton
90° FoCo Airport
89° DEN (*Record)
88° CO Spgs Airport
86° Boulder
72° Salida
72° Eagle Airport
72° Steamboat Spgs
66° Dillon

Of course, since Friday afternoon the main story has been snow in the mountains. Our forecast has mostly verified with a few areas coming in on the high end, notably the Park Range and Winter Park.

Location Past 24hr Past 48hr Next 24hr
Buffalo Pass 9” 19” 2-6”
Winter Park 8” 13” 4-9”
Vail SA 6” 10” 4-8”
Red Mtn Pass 3” 9” T-4”
Copper Mtn 4” 9” 6-12”+
A-Basin 5” 9” 6-12”
Breck SA 5” 9” 6-12”+
Loveland SA 6” 8” 6-12”
Aspen Mtn 2” 8” 3-7”
Berthoud Pass 4” 7” 6-12”
Cameron Pass 2” 5” 2-6”

Forecast Discussion

The upper-level trough that impacted Colorado has now swung past our region, but a decent shortwave behind it is bringing one last round of snow to the mountains and a backdoor cold front for the Front Range.

We’ve bumped up the forecast for many ski areas to 6-12” from this afternoon to Monday morning, now that there is much better agreement that we’ll see a potent convergence boundary unfold.

Here’s that same map, without the annotations:

And a more general look at Colorado:

That boundary does look juicy, with widespread probabilities of powder across it, which encompasses many ski areas.

Instability will be a significant driver of snowfall, so can’t rule out some thunder either. The thunderstorm grids seem to agree:

After a lull last night, precipitation is starting to fill in again thanks to instability/convection and some large-scale dynamics with the upper level trough over our region. We don’t have a ton of moisture to work with, but it’s enough. Generally expecting the most widespread snow from later this afternoon until midnight as a shortwave behind the main trough that impacted us enhances lift over the area. For southern Colorado, midnight to 6am tomorrow.

The best dynamics and moisture will be along the aforementioned convergence boundary as an upslope sets up from the east and from the north-northwest. This boundary extends from the south end of the James Peak Wilderness, down the Divide over the tunnels, down the Tenmile and Mosquito Ranges, and down much of the spine of the Sawatch Range.

This encompasses many ski areas including Berthoud Pass, Jones Pass, A-Basin, Loveland, Breck, Copper, Vail Pass, Cottonwood Pass, Independence Pass, Mayflower Gulch, but likely stopping short of Monarch Pass, and likely starting just south of Winter Park.

Cannot rule out double digit totals in these areas, but since we’re relying on instability to drive a portion of this snowfall, also may see some inconsistencies in snow totals. In fact, the National Weather Service’s forecast is more in the 4-9” range as opposed to our 6-12” range, especially considering models are already looking a bit too wet (but we’ve backed my totals off a bit from what some models are showing).

Elsewhere, not looking like much snow. The Park Range should only pick up a couple more inches or so, along with the San Juans and northern Front Range (RMNP). The Elks and West Elks may do slightly better, maybe 1-6” of snow, but dynamics and moisture are not favorable.

The east side of the Sangres and Wet Mountains should do pretty good with the easterly upslope in the early Monday morning hours, generally 4-10”.

With the slight change in storm track, the upslope for the Front Range foothills and I-25 corridor does not look as potent, with less cold air and moisture to work with.

Looking likely that some areas like the Denver metro area may bottom out in the low 40s. Areas above 5,700ft. still have a decent chance of seeing temperatures below freezing. The colder air will be working its way into the Front Range this afternoon behind a backdoor cold front.

Outside of the foothills, very little snow expected, even though most areas even at lower elevations would theoretically see a changeover to snow – just not a lot of precipitation in general.

Only Trace in the Denver metro area at best, and up to an inch or two in Colorado Springs, which would likely melt on contact. This precipitation is most likely from about 5pm and into Monday morning, and will generally be light.

In the foothills, still looking at the potential for 2-6” but this may be pretty spotty, with lower totals to the north of Boulder. There’s already some decent precipitation right now and this should continue through midnight in spots.

Next week generally looks dry. Maybe some weak thunderstorm activity on Monday afternoon and perhaps other days but not seeing any strong signal for another significant storm anytime soon. We’ll warm up quite a bit from Tuesday to Friday. The best chance for another storm comes next weekend, but only a weak signal right now.

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