Snowfall Totals; Quick Look Ahead

Snowfall Totals
The latest analysis is out for snowfall totals from Tuesday and Wednesday across the region. Overall we're very happy with our forecast, the exception being the Palmer Ridge, where things never really got going. Our station received 1.5" of snow, just under our 2" minimum as we'll discuss below. Here's a map of interpolated snowfall totals – those north of Denver and west of I-25 did best with this storm:

Happy with our forecast for Boulder! You'll recall on Tuesday we decided to bump Boulder up to the 3 - 7" range, which proved to be a good decision. The climate station there recorded a total of 6.8" of snow.

Happy with the Fort! Or forecast called for 2 - 5" for Fort Collins and most local storm reports came in between 3 and 4" for the city, with one 5.8" reading on the west side.

Happy with the impacts we communicated with this storm. COLD, number one, and while not a ton of snow, a slow and icy commute on Wednesday morning. Last night Denver dropped to -10° officially at DIA (😱) which while cold, is not a record, and for those of you commuting yesterday, you'll know that even with light snowfall totals overall, the roads were no fun at all.

Happy about our communicating these types of setups typically would under perform than over. Models as recently as Monday were producing up to an inch of liquid with this storm, when in reality most locales saw less than a quarter inch. Of the global models, the EURO likely did best at handling this system, with a pretty good run from the high-res HRRR as well.

Sad Denver came up a bit short. While the west side of town hit our minimums (2"), east of I-25 saw totals less than this for the most part. Of course with a mid-range BI, and days (and days) of saying it'd be hard to hit our low-end in town, we're okay with this from a forecast perspective. That said, we're very sad our station didn't see more snow. Very sad.

Sad about our Palmer Ridge forecast. On Tuesday we discussed that high-res models were keeping most of best snow north of town, but we thought the Palmer would do better nonetheless. As you can see in the map above, it didn't.

Quick look ahead
After another chilly day today we'll warm things up for Friday and Saturday. By Saturday night we could see a few snow showers spill off the mountains (especially north of I-70), but at the moment we don't expect these to amount to much. The disturbance responsible for these showers will bring more good snow to the high country this weekend, however.

Eyes will then turn toward early to mid next week when another shot of arctic air will spill into the country. It's unclear how much this will impact us across eastern Colorado (it may end up a bit further east than this last one), but it needs to be watched as it'll be packing some very cold air. If it sets up right, we'd expect a bit more snow with the front as well, though likely not a great setup for those east of the mountains in that regard again. Here's the latest GFS anomaly forecast for next Wednesday, very cold air from the Rockies east:

The pattern for the next 10 days overall looks chilly for the United States. It also looks like a great period for snow in the mountains. For Denver, as we've been saying for some time now, the pattern is less favorable for snow – but, the door remains open for something to come through, and at the very least a handful of smaller event. The snowfall forecast from the GFS below tells this quite well: GREAT time head for the intermountain west, cold and snowy across the midwest, and likely some pretty great lake effect snow coming up as well. If you find DEN on the map below, you'll notice it's not forecasting much snow for us at this time. That could change!

Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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