ForecastCooler and Wetter Through Saturday; Warm and Dry Sunday-Monday; Next System Tuesday-FridayA slower storm track is keeping things more unsettled into Saturday, but warm temperatures (and winds) return on Sunday. By later on Wednesday, most of the state will be impacted by another system.

Published Thu Sep 15, 2022 - 4:51pm MST • Updated Tue Sep 27, 2022 - 4:53pm


  • Thomas Horner


  • The storm track has slowed down a bit. We'll remain cooler and unsettled into Saturday. The snow level has been dipping down to 12,000ft.
  • Another round of storms favors northern Colorado on Friday (along and north of I-70). Saturday also has isolated storm chances in the northern mountains.
  • Warm and dry on Sunday and Monday -- gusty in the mountains on Sunday.
  • Subtropical moisture impacts southern and western Colorado on Tuesday ahead of a stronger system -- widespread rain/snow possible especially in the San Juans.
  • Wednesday may feature a decent cold front for the Front Range (with increasingly colder air transported into the region through Thursday) and widespread precipitation potential throughout Colorado.
  • Cooler temperatures and better precipitation chances likely continue into Friday of next week.

Lightning Risk Grids

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The rain/snow level continues to creep downwards in elevation as we progress into meteorological fall. As we mentioned in our previous forecast, it's often dipping to 12,500ft. or so these days. With stronger precipitation, that can be even lower. Looks yesterday's strong precipitation associated with the remnant of Tropical Storm Kay dropped the snow level below 12,000ft.

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(via Aspen-Snowmass)
(via Aspen-Snowmass)

Much of this snow should be gone by the weekend, except in areas that get more consistent storm coverage today.

Yesterday's push of precipitation was fairly substantial in spots, especially in the areas that we were favoring (the western ranges and the San Juans).

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The Denver metro area also saw a nice round of heavier precipitation which was not something we thought was likely.

Forecast Discussion

The biggest change in the forecast since our previous discussion has been towards a less progressive pattern. A large trough off the coast of California is expected to move eastward next week, but later than models were expecting when we discussed it a few days ago. This is also allowing another weak shortwave in flow aloft to work over Colorado tomorrow, which will keep things a bit cooler and more unsettled into Saturday.

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This feature will fetch additional moisture into northern Colorado through Saturday. Friday's storm chances look higher ahead of the shortwave, generally favoring areas along and north of I-70. On Saturday, coverage will be much more isolated, with afternoon storms possible in the northern Front Range, Park Range, Flat Tops, and Gore Range.

The less progressive pattern also means that Sunday and Monday will be warm and dry, likely into Tuesday for northern Colorado as well, with a strong center of high pressure to our east.

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During this time, much of Colorado will be warmer than average, especially east of the Divide.

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On Sunday, strong winds will be located over Colorado, and models are showing some decent gusts in the mountains during that afternoon.

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On Tuesday, the anticyclonic flow around high pressure to our east should fetch a plume of subtropical moisture into southwestern Colorado -- we could see some pretty heavy precipitation in the San Juans that day, with impacts for most western ranges and the Sangres as well.

Troughing to our west should finally lift eastwards by Wednesday. Right now, models are expecting fairly widespread precipitation on Wednesday evening, along with a cold front for the Front Range, with the coldest temperatures late Thursday and ongoing precipitation chances into Friday. Models continue to struggle with this feature though, so that timing is not set in stone.

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The trough also looks a lot less deep than models were showing a few days ago, which means we wont really see widespread snow, but most areas at/above 12,000ft. could pick up a few inches by Thursday and Friday.


Thomas Horner

Thomas is an endurance athlete and ski mountaineer based out of Golden, Colorado. His background is in software engineering, meteorology, and cartography, and the rest of his free time is devoted to playing in heavy metal bands.

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