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It’s been a dry and warm year, with nary a break from the conditions that have spurred Colorado into a relentless drought and one of the warmest years on record. If you’ve been looking toward winter, hoping for the weather gods to bless us with a blast of that powdery goodness, you’re in luck (at least in the short term). The upcoming pattern is changing a bit, which will bring some much-needed moisture to Denver and—more importantly, for snow sport enthusiasts—give the high country’s snowpack a boost.
As it stands, the current snowpack in Colorado is not in great shape. We’re currently sitting at 76 percent of normal, but that’s OK—we have plenty of time in the season to make up for the deficit.
The snowpack is currently only above-normal in the Upper Rio Grande River Basin down near Wolf Creek. That’s thanks to some early-season, southern-tracking storms, which is strange because we are currently in a La Niña pattern that typically sheds more snow across the northern mountains than anywhere else in the state. (If you remember, Wolf Creek was the first Colorado resort to start spinning its lifts this season.)
The main weather models are calling for a series of snowstorms on the horizon, which will benefit just about all areas of the state through the weekend and beyond—all the way up to the holidays. Most will benefit the mountains, but Denver will have its fair share of action, too.
The first round of snow is (obviously) already underway. This small weather event will bring just an inch or two of snow through Friday afternoon. Another round of snow will start blowing in Saturday through Sunday morning, bringing another inch or two to the metro area. The foothills and the mountains, of course, will receive more accumulation during this time, but it’s not expected to be a huge storm.
Another round of snow is looking likely for Tuesday of next week. This one appears to be a little stronger than what we will experience over the weekend, so it could cause commuting issues for a day or two. Best of all, this storm will bring a good dose of snow to the mountains, and of course, with snowy weather comes with cold weather, so be ready to bundle up!
Past this point, the weather models show that the Rockies will see two or three more storms that will bring additional powder to the ski areas that are running pretty behind in terms of season-to-date snowfall. As always during this time of the year, be ready for winter driving conditions. In between these storms there will be sunny days, which should help out the roads. You know how it works here in Colorado.
It’s a little early to say whether or not we will have a white Christmas, but these small storms are setting the stage for snow to at least be on the ground for the holidays in the metro area, and will guarantee that powder will blanket any high country getaways you may have planned.