New Years Even Snow Across The Denver Metro

A blustery storm system moved through Colorado New Years Eve bringing snow across the region along with very cold temperatures.  Unfortunately temperatures were too cold to enable good dendrite growth leading to most falling snow to be a very light, powdery snow.  Strong winds from the north throughout the day caused blowing snow and poor visibility with small drifting in some areas.  Preliminary snow totals this morning around 8:30 AM via local storm reports are as follows:

Snow favored the western and south side of the Denver Metro Area with totals ranging from 2-4″.  Denver, north and east had less accumulations between 1-1.5″ reported with DIA’s official total coming in at only 0.5″ from New Years Eve’s storm.  Hopefully this will lead to a more active winter as Denver has seen little to no snow so far this season.    

Broncos Game Day Forecast

The Denver Broncos will close out their season today against the Los Angeles Chargers at home and the weather looks to be very pleasant for December standards.  Below is the game day forecast:

Conditions will be pleasant today in Denver for the last game of the season.  Temperatures will warm into the lower 50s under mostly sunny skies through early afternoon then skies become partly cloudy later afternoon.  Highs will be reached between 1-2pm with the majority of the game experiencing temperatures in the 40s.  Winds will be light, mainly varying from SW to NW at less than 10mph.  A storm system will move into the Denver Metro area overnight with widespread snow through the day on Monday.  GO BRONCOS!!!    

 

                                                Game Day Forecast

Time Temp (F) RH % Wind

(mph)

Conditions Precipitation
12:00 PM
50
24%
SW 4-8
MSunny
DRY
1:00 PM
51
24%
SW/W 4-8
MSunny
DRY
2:00 PM
50
25%
W/NW 4-8
MSunny
DRY
3:00 PM
48
29%
W/NW 4-8
MSunny/PCldy
DRY
4:00 PM
46
31%
NW 4-8
PCldy
DRY
5:00 PM
42
36%
N/NW 4-8
PCldy
DRY
6:00 PM
40
39%
N/NW 3-6
PCldy/MCldy DRY

Much Needed Southwest Colorado Snow

Currently, most areas in Colorado are at average or above average for snowfall this year with southwest Colorado being the exception with snowfall well under average this year resulting in below average snow pack.  In order to clearly see the impacts of snow pack depth we look at how well that snow will transfer into water.  This is a ratio of snow to liquid and is represented as Snow Water Equivalent (SWE).  Below is a preliminary map from the USDA/NRCS National Water and Climate Center depicting the SWE for Colorado as of December 27, 2018.  SWE’s for west, east, central and northern Colorado are ~110-120% above average indicating increased snowfall for the beginning of the 2018-2019 season.  whereas southwest Colorado is well below average with only 60-70% of the seasons typical SWE.  Southwest Colorado has struggled to produce meaningful snowfall so far this season, but there will be a good chance over the next day or two to raise that percentage.

   

Currently a decent low pressure system resides over the southwest corner of Colorado which is bringing beneficial moisture from the south and dumping snow across the San Juan and Sangre de Christo Mountain ranges.  Totals snowfall expected with this storm is anywhere between 2-6″ with higher elevations and south facing slopes seeing the higher end amounts.  A lull in snow Saturday and Sunday before another low pressure system will move south of Colorado resulting in a very good chance for more snow with some models showing areas in the San Juan mountains receiving over a foot of snow!  This should help raise the SWE amounts and hopefully bring some much needed relief to a very dry area.  

Great Day To Go Skiing!

Today would be a great day to get up to the Colorado High Country to ski as most areas in the mountains are expected to see fresh snow!  Snowfall will most likely be light, mainly in the 1-3″ range with some areas, especially western facing slopes seeing slightly higher snowfall totals.  Driving around shouldn’t be too much of an issues as long as you’re prepared, but higher elevations and mountain passes could see some blizzard like conditions at times due to high winds and blowing snow as this storm system moves through.  Light snowfall should continue through Monday, with a strong storm system poised to hit Colorado and the Front Range late Tuesday through Wednesday.

Expected Snowfall per NWS:

Expected Snowfall - Official NWS Forecast

Percent Chance 0.1″ or more of Snowfall per NWS:

Percent Chance 2″ or Greater of Snowfall per NWS:

Colorado High Country Snow

It has been a mild past week in the Colorado High Country with very little to no new snow.  High pressure has dominated over the region this past week allowing warmer temperatures and sunny skies for most of the week.  A push of moisture from the west looks to be heading in this week, bu snowfall amounts appear to be minimal over the next couple of days.  Here is a look at the percent probability of snow over 0.1″ per NWS:

Definitely appears as though we will get some snow in the Colorado High Country, but it will most likely be minimal as seen with the same map with chances of 2″ or greater:

Based on these percentages, it is fair to say the most likely scenario this week is light snow favoring the norther and central portions of Colorado, with very shallow fresh powder expected.  I will check later in the week to see how this weekend looks and will let you know!

Holiday Weather Outlook

A quick look across the country during the Holidays for those who plan on traveling over the next couple of weeks!  Below I will post both the temperature probabilities and the precipitation probabilities based on NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.  It is important to remember that these maps show the chance of temperature and precipitation either above or below the average amount during the Holiday season.  Each map is through December 24, 2018 through December 30, 2018.  Here is a look at the temperatures expected:

 8 to 14 Day Outlook - Temperature Probability

As you can see by the map above, the majority of above average temperatures for this time of year will be towards the southeast, where they can expect well above average temperatures mainly in part of a high pressure ridge that will set up in the southeast over the next couple of weeks which will allow warm moist air from the gulf to travel north into the Ohio Valley area.  The northeast will also benefit from warmer weather over the couple of weeks as well.  As for Colorado, we should stay right around average with mild conditions expected through the end of the year.  Areas in Idaho, northern Nevada, Utah and Wyoming could see below average temperatures over the next couple of weeks.  This is mostly in part to the high pressure ridge to the southeast limiting any warm air for the Idaho region and allowing cooler air from Canada to creep in south into the Rockies.  Slightly above average temperatures may be possible along the Pacific coast as well.  Now that we’ve taken a look at the temperatures across the United States, lets see where we can expect an increased or decreased chance of precipitation:

8 to 14 Day Outlook - Precipitation Probability

Almost the exact same map showing an increased probability of precipitation central, and southeast United States, with below average to the north on the border of Canada.  This makes sense as the high pressure ridge pulls moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and sends it north into the Midwestern states where there could be the potential for severe weather from Texas to Illinois if the conditions are right, with an increase in snow possible for the more norther states, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  As for Colorado, we can see a 40-50% higher probability of precipitation which could possibly indicate some snow coming into our region over the next couple of weeks, although, since this is a probability map chances for a “White Christmas” remain pretty slim for Denver.  Here is a link for climate probabilities for snow on December 25th for Denver per National Weather Service: www.weather.gov/bou/denver_xmassnowstats

If you do plan on traveling for the Holidays, always remember to check in with the weather to make sure you can get to where you want to go on time, and safely!

 

 

 

 

 

Broncos Game Day Forecast

For a December game weather conditions are about as good as they can get for this time of year.  There will be some cloud cover this morning with skies eventually becoming partly cloudy to mostly sunny late this afternoon.  Temperatures will reach the upper 50s to around 60 for highs between 1-2pm.  After sunset temperatures will fall into the 40s and likely remain in the 40s through the remainder of the game.  Winds today are expected to be light, generally under 10mph from the SW with some variability in direction at times.  GO BRONCOS

High Country Skiing/Sightseeing this Weekend

A very mild week this week for the Colorado High Country as very little snow has fallen and temperatures have been mild throughout the week.  This weekend will be much of the same with warm, sunny conditions expected with little to no new snowfall.  Although fresh powder will be absent this weekend, travel conditions will be great and gorgeous sunny Colorado skies will make for awesome views anywhere in up in the mountains.  Here is the snowfall probability outlook  over the next two days from National Weather Service:

 Expected Snowfall - Official NWS Forecast

As you can see from the outlook, no snow is expected this weekend in the high country.  If you enjoy getting up to the mountains for some sightseeing or ski/snowboarding under warm, sunny skies, now is your time to get up and take in all that the beautiful Colorado high country has to offer!

Geminid Meteor Shower

Last night was the start of the annual Geminid Meteor Shower and it was spectacular!  Fortunately the upper level clouds that formed late last night dissipated just in time to allow for clear skies just after midnight.  This made great viewing weather in the late evening into early morning and temperatures stayed just mild enough not to be too cold, of course a cup of hot cocoa helped keep the hands warm in order to take pictures.  Here is a shot of a meteor just above the constellation Orion:

 

Several of meteors could be seen in almost every direction and that is what makes this meteor shower one of the best.  The Geminid meteor shower offers the slowest moving meteors across the night sky, with multiple colors, sizes and trail intensities.  If you missed last nights spectacular light show, don’t worry, because you can catch this event tonight as well!  A few things to keep in mind before you head out.  The best time to view the Geminid meteor shower will be after midnight and definitely after the moon sets to our west.  Make sure you are well out of city lights (although I took the above picture in Thornton), and give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness, around 30-45 minutes.  This also means do not look at your phone or any other light source as it will keep your eyes from properly adjusting.  The meteors originate from the Gemini constellation, hence the name, but meteors can be seen throughout the night sky (Personally I chose to look southwest towards the Orion constellation since that angle had the least light pollution for me).  Skies this evening should be clear early with clouds starting to increase after midnight.  Temperatures this evening will drop into the upper twenties to low thirties, but with a slight breeze this evening from the south, wind chills will hover in the low twenties, so if you plan to go watch make sure you bring a warm coat, hat and some gloves so you can stay comfortable during the dazzling light display that is the Geminid meteor shower!

 

Minimal Snowfall in Colorado’s High Country

Over the weekend little to no snowfall for the high country leading to sunny ski conditions and great travel conditions compared to the previous weekend.  Here are a few of the higher snow totals from areas in the high country based on CoCoRaHS:

Yampa: 2.9″

Rockwood: 2.0″

Kremmling: 1.0″

Vail: 1.2″

Steamboat Springs: 1.3″

Tabernash: 1.0″

Oak Creek: 1.8″

Silverthorne: 0.9″

Granby: 0.5″

Breckenridge: 0.5″

A beautiful week is in store with a small chances for snow to develop over the next couple of days.  An increase is on the horizon for Wednesday as another disturbance is set to hit the high country.  Here is the NWS probabilities for the high country seeing 0.1″ or more over the next two days:

Combined with the probability map of 1″ of snow or greater, you can definitely tell there is little to no chance for snow over the next two days:

Not too much snow over the next couple of days, but it appears that will change going into the weekend, more to come on that later in the week!