Colorado snowpack in the red zone, statewide

Forecasters say the storm door is starting to crack open

2012 snowpack even lower than last year.
The Climate Prediction Center 8 to 14-day outlook is for continued dry conditions across Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a brutally dry November, the weather pattern may be shifting in early December, bringing at least a chance of snow to parts of Colorado during the next few days. Statewide snowpack was at 41 percent of average as of Nov. 29, with some river basins as low as 26 percent

The moisture would be welcomed, not only by skiers hoping for softer snow and more terrain, but by state resource managers, who are nervously eying their reservoirs and the almost nonexistent snowpack. November precipitation added up to only 0.2 — 20 percent of average — inches at the Dillon observation site, while high temperatures for the month averaged an eye-opening 7 degrees above average.

Some approaching weather systems could help, but only a little bit, as forecasters are calling for only a few inches of snow. The first storm will arrive Sunday night, with the best chance for significant snow across the northwestern corner of the state, where the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is calling for five to eight inches of snow. Farther south and east, storm totals will be more modest, perhaps in the one to three inch range.

Don’t expect the weather to get too wintry, though. Temperatures will remain warm through the storm and climb back well above normal quickly once the weak cold front passes through Sunday night. Forecast highs through mid-week are in the mid-40s, with lows dropping only to the teens and 20s.

Another storm could roll into the mountains Thursday, but forecasters are still hedging their bets on that system. The National Weather Service says confidence is low for the Thursday storm, and the CAIC forecasters also are lowering expectations. Here’s a blurb from their latest update:

“The models bring another storm in later in the week. This could finally be the pattern change we all want and are wishing for, but models have been overly optimistic with the forecasts 100 or more hours out.”


2 thoughts on “Colorado snowpack in the red zone, statewide

  1. cindi and i will do our best to punch a hole ithe S/W high-pressure shield in our airbus 300 tomorrow from l.a. back to denver. so far, 3 days of drizzle/rain/spotty sunshine, temps in the mid-60s, but…wait for it…humidity index in the high 80s. all my finger cracks have healed!

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