Prolonged period of wet weather possible for Colorado
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Dust off your snow shovel and powder skis, because all the forecast models are now in agreement that the Colorado mountains will see widespread snow this week, with the heaviest precipitation ( 1 to 2 feet) initially over the San Juans and West Elks, where a winter storm warning is already in effect.
The big ridge of high pressure that shoved early seasons storms north and south of Colorado is gone for, and the subtropical jet stream and polar jet stream are converging over Colorado to fuel what could be the biggest storm of the season so far.
It looks like Summit County and the rest of the northern mountains will share in the love on this round, with all the forecasters, including the conservative Colorado Avalanche Information Center experts, calling for up to 5 inches of fresh snow by Tuesday morning in the eastern part of the Summit-Vail zone, with higher amounts to the south and west. including Aspen, where local weather sources are predicting 12 inches by Monday evening.
Even better, the medium range pattern calls for a persistent northwest flow to linger over the area throughout the week and into next weekend, with continued chances of snow on and off, helping ski resorts open more terrain and easing water woes.
According to the Grand Junction-based National Weather Service office, a prolonged period of rainy/snowy weather can be expected as a series of increasingly moist impulses streaks over the area.
The CAIC also warning in advance that the new snow will up the avalanche hazard in the backcountry, with tender new windslabs sitting atop crusts and a rotten base of faceted grains.
Bottom line: Steady snow Monday, with the chance for a few hours of heavy snowfall in the late afternoon and evening, just in time to snarl skier traffic returning to the Front Range, with snowfall tapering off during the night.
Clearing will lead to cold temps, with lows dropping below zero and highs Tuesday climbing only into the teens.
Under a west to northwest flow, temps will warm back up to near seasonal averages starting Wednesday, with highs around 30 and lows in the teens and 20s. The National Weather Service forecast calls for temps to swing up and down as the flow cycles between northwest and southwest as each impulse moves through the forecast area.
Tuesday looks mostly dry with perhaps some showers over the ridges. Moisture increases again gradually Wednesday, with a stronger surge expected Thursday and Thursday night, and perhaps again during the coming weekend.