Several more feet of snow could fall before it’s all said and done, but so far, Summit County snowfall is far from “epic,” as weather watchers report average snow totals for the season to-date
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The pipeline of moisture from deep in the Pacific continues to flow across Colorado, where winter storm warnings for most of the high country have been extended through Tuesday evening. Think of the storm as a giant hose that’s slowly undulating from north to south to help you understand how the snow totals are varying across the state from day to day.
And while it’s been snowy in Summit County, season snowfall to date is just about average to-date, with the official reading in Breckenridge at 77 inches for the season (starting Oct. 1). That’s running just a couple of inches ahead of 2007, and still well behind 1996, when weather watcher Rick Bly had tallied 101.4 inches by this date, and the big winter of 1983, when the season-to-date snowfall was almost double of what we’ve seen so far this winter.
Still, Monday was a good day for Colorado ski areas, as Wolf Creek reported 22 inches of fresh snow, with a 30-inch storm total for the past 48 hours. Silverton reported 12 inches, with a 20 inch storm total, adding up to a 65 inch base. Crested Butte, tabbed by forecasters to do especially week, reported 11 inches Monday, with 26 inches as a two-day storm total.
Locally, A-Basin picked up 12 inches in the past 24 hours and 21 inches in the past two days, while Loveland reported 9 inches overnight Sunday and into Monday, with 18 inches in the past 24 hours. Breckenridge totals are very similar, while Keystone reported 6 inches in the past 24 hours, 14 inches in the last two days and 20 inches for the past week.
Vail and Beaver Creek didn’t quite match up to those totals, with only 3 inches in the past 24 hours, but the Eagle County areas could get hammered again, along with the rest of the mountains, as another wave of energy moves across the state Monday night and Tuesday, with the heaviest snow above 9,000 feet on west and southwest-facing slopes. A lull is possible Tuesday night.
The big story is still in California, where Mammoth Mountain has already seen more than 10 feet of snow, and SoCal is getting pounded by flooding rains with dangerous mud slides possible, especially in burned areas in the mountains around the L.A. Basin.
The National Weather Service forecasters in Grand Junction are still on their “epic storm” kick, claiming that snow will continue to pound the mountains relentlessly through Tuesday. The spigot remains open Tuesday night and Wednesday, but with less energy in the atmosphere, snowfall should be less intense.
For snowfall totals, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is forecasting another 4 to 8 inches Monday night, with similar amounts for Tuesday and Tuesday night.
By Wednesday, the main West Coast low pressure trough starts to move inland, bringing some colder air and another round of heavy snow for many mountain areas, although the exact timing and focus are still uncertain. But colder and drier air is expected filter into region late Thursday and Friday, before another storm takes aim at the northern mountains late next weekend.
Temperatures will continue mild throughout the forecast period, with highs in the upper 20s and low 30s