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Weatherblog: Some spring powder in Summit County?

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Winter weather advisories posted for Tuesday night through late Wednesday

A spring sunset over Buffalo Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. BOB BERWYN PHOTO.

A big-picture view of the Pacific shows a big subtropical jet stream far to the south and some remnant winter energy swirling in the Gulf of Alaska. In between, an area of disturbed weather will move across the Rockies the next few days, bringing some fresh snow.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A classic spring storm is rolling across the West, marked by a deep trough of low pressure extending down into the desert Southwest. As an “inside slider,” the low will move east of the Continental Divide and set up a deep, moist northeast flow that could produce significant snowfall on the east slope of the Front Range under upslope conditions.

A winter weather advisory from 12 p.m. Tuesday night to 6 p.m. Wednesday (May 11), with 4 to 8 inches of snow possible above 7,000 feet along the Front Range. The winter weather advisory extends to the higher terrain of Summit County, where the National Weather forecast also calls for the chance of 4 to 8 inches of snow across the higher terrain. A-Basin could pick up some decent snow once the weather system moves east of the area Wednesday and the flow switches around to the north.

Farther west and south, around Vail, Aspen and Crested Butte, a winter storm warning is in effect, with heavier snow expected across south-facing slopes Tuesday night, shifting to north-facing slopes Wednesday. Continue reading

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Summit County weatherblog: Warming up!

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

This isn't exactly the kind of May flower we're hoping to see, but pretty nonetheless. It's a frost crystal growing on the tip of a blade of dead grass in a muddy runoff puddle near the Lilypad Lake trailhead.

Many daily record highs for May have been set in the past 10 years — a sign of global warming?

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’ve been patiently waiting for a warmup, you’re time is almost here. By the end of the week, temps could soar into the upper 50s as the polar jet stream pulls back to near the Canadian border.

But first, look for another chance of showers the next 48 hours or so, especially north of I-70, as a weak cold front sags south from Idaho, dropping highs on Wednesday by about 5 degrees.

Once that system passes, the outlook is for a relatively dry scenario across the area through the first part of the weekend, with the forecast beyond that indicating the chance for another stronger system to dig into the West for the start of next week, but the models are still a bit muddled. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Wintry weekend, snowpack still growing

A map showing the Colorado snowpack on April 29, 2011.

Amazing snowpack readings around much of Colorado.

4 to 8 inches of snow possible by Saturday morning

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a short taste of spring, it looks like winter will make a comeback over the weekend as a strong cold front dives southeast out of Utah and sweep across Colorado, bringing a chance for several inches of snow. Much of the high country is under a winter weather advisory through mid-day Saturday, with 4 to 8 inches of snow possible in the northern mountains.Freeze warnings have been issued for the western valleys of Colorado. Moderate to heavy snow could fall with the passage of the front Friday afternoon and evening, with showers lingering into the first part of the weekend.

The warmest temperatures of the weekend are likely Friday morning. The front will drop readings by as much as 20 degrees, with forecast highs below freezing (about 29 degrees) both Saturday and Sunday, then rebounding to reach the mid-40s again by the middle of next week. Those readings are well below normal, with average high in Frisco for April 30 at 51 degrees. The record high is 70 degrees, set in 1943, and the record low is 5 degrees, set in 1918. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Breckenridge to top 500 inches of snow

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Winter weather advisory through Tuesday; wet week ahead

By Bob Berwyn

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SUMMIT COUNTY — With the higher elevations of Summit County under a winter weather advisory through Tuesday, Breckenridge Ski Area is all but certain to record more than 500 inches of snow for the season, according to the resort’s website, which is showing 496 inches total snowfall as of April 18.

Satellite images suggest that the season will end the way it began at Breckenridge — under a juicy northwest flow off the Pacific that will bring on and off showers for the last week of the season. The short-term forecast from the National Weather Service calls for a chance of 4 to 8 inches by Tuesday afternoon, and  Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasters  — generally conservative at forecasting totals — say 6 to 9 inches is possible Monday night. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Whomped … and avalanche danger spikes

Wintry weather continues a few more days

Storm totals of two-feet-plus and backcountry avalanche danger in Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — March is living up to its historical reputation as the wettest month of the year, as a juicy storm out of the northwest whomped Colorado, delivering double-digit snowfall totals to many of the state’s ski areas and boosting the water content of the snowpack at automated SNOTEL sites.

The storm also set up winter-like avalanche conditions in the backcountry with a high likelihood for both triggered and natural slides in the new snow, as well as the potential for large avalanches to step down into the deeper layers of the snowpack. Large avalanches running to the ground are being reported statewide every few days, mostly on northwest to northeast aspects near treeline, generally in areas with a shallower snowpack.

Skiers triggered an avalanche Monday in the East Vail area in the new storm layer. The slide broke about two feet deep, 500 feet wide and ran a hefty 1,200 vertical feet, according to the morning bulletin from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Some field observations suggest that heavier, wet snow fell atop lighter layers, which can lead to immediate weaknesses in the snowpack. Anticipating avalanches in the backcountry, the CAIC has rated the hazard as considerable on northwest, north, northeast and southeast aspects above treeline, with considerable danger elsewhere. The rating means that both triggered and natural releases can be expected. Check with the CAIC online before heading into the backcountry or call the Vail-Summit hotline at (970) 668-0600. Continue reading

Weatherblog: More spring snow!

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Leon Littlebird celebrates the first day of spring by carving some fresh powder during a snowcat skiing session at Monarch Mountain.

On and off showers to persist through the week; avalanches likely higher backcountry terrain

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Spring roared into Colorado with a chilly, blustery storm that dropped snow statewide, including 10 inches at Winter Park, and 9 inches at Wolf Creek, Silverton, Eldora, Aspen Mountain and Monarch. Nearly every ski area picked up almost half-a-foot snow as a dynamic cold front swept across the state Tuesday.

A few lingering showers Wednesday morning should give way to mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures as transitory high pressure builds across the Rockies while yet another systems winds up over Southern California and head into the Great Basin and shoots over Colorado Thursday. Continue reading

Weatherblog, Winter warnings, wind and wet snow slides

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Winter storm warning for Gore Range and western mountains

Most long-range computer models are in agreement showing a decent storm moving over Colorado late Thursday into Friday.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Winter storm warnings have been hoisted for parts of the Colorado mountains, including the Gore Range in Summit County, where up to 18 inches of snow could fall by Friday morning. The winter storm warning is in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, with the highest snow totals expected in the northwestern mountains. The National Weather Service says up to 24 inches of snow may fall in the Flattops and Park Range.

The incoming weather is courtesy of a Pacific storm moving into the Great Basin. Snow levels will be at about 9,000 feet, at least during the early stages of the storm, so look for a possible mix of rain and snow on the valley floors.

Ahead of the storm, warm southwest winds (gusts up to 40 mph) will prevail Wednesday, chewing away at the mountain snowpack. Several SNOTEL sites have lost four to six inches of snow in the past couple of days, and that trend will continue Wednesday before a layer of fresh snow piles up in the last few days of the work week. Look for a high Wednesday around 50 degrees, dropping down to the low 40s Thursday and down another 10 degrees Friday during the brunt of the storm, when the high should be around 34 degrees. Continue reading

Weatherblog: A little bonus storm …

A pronounced low pressure area off the Pacific Northwest coast will spin bits of energy toward Colorado the next few days.

Solid snowfall totals Sunday, more on the way this week?

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The shortwave trough of low pressure that raced across the northern Rockies early Sunday morning delivered respectable amounts of snow to many resorts in northern Colorado, with Loveland, the big winner, reporting 11 inches.  Winter Park reported 8.5 inches, while Copper, Steamboat, Sol Vista Basin, Snowmass, Ski Cooper, and Copper all reporting 6 inches, while A-Basin picked up 5 inches.

All in all, not a bad score for a storm that wasn’t expected to produce much, and a similar wave is expected to move through area Monday morning, followed by a somewhat more vigorous wave sometime around mid-week, though that storm may come in out of the southwest and drop more of the goods on the state’s southwestern quadrant. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Warm-n-windy

Red Flag warning along Front Range, gusts up to 80 mph in the mountains

One more mountain wave cloud ...

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The snow may still be piled deep here in the high country of Colorado, but dry, warm air, combined with the potential for strong wind gusts have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for parts of the Front Range and extending up into foothill country just east of Summit County.

There could be a few showers Friday over the high ridges as a weak shortwave moves across the northern Rockies, bringing partly cloudy skies. Another weak trough is forecast to cross the area Sunday afternoon and evening, but in the transitional spring pattern, the forecast models are giving conflicting information, so the National Weather Service forecast is holding off on specific snowfall information for the next few days. Continue reading

Weatherblog: What happened?

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

A persistent Gulf of Alaska low pressure system may send some snow love our way the next few days in the form of some short wave impulses.


What sounded like it was going to be a promising Monday storm fizzled out with a few measly waves of snow over the Gore Range in the afternoon, followed by a starry night and few more flurries Tuesday morning, all adding up to just a couple of inches of snow in the Summit County mountains.

As late as 11 p.m. Monday night, the forecasts still included winter weather advisories, watches and warnings, while skies in Summit County were completely clear.

The big snows fell in the San Juans, as the storm weakened and split, with most of the energy heading south, then east into Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, where they can use the moisture. Silverton Mountain reported a 28-inch storm total, and several other San Juan ski areas picked up well over a foot of snow. Continue reading


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