Friday Update–High Elevation Snow Forecasts

3/10/23 Friday 6:30 am

Big snow totals are on the way for the mountains with heavy rain elsewhere. Most of the snow that falls below around 8,400 feet will melt at some point during the storm.  So it will be very tricky for those of you between 8,400 and 8,900 feet. Rain-snow mix will be common and it will be difficult to measure.

Speaking of difficult, driving over the passes by tonight will be difficult to impossible. Convective snow showers are supposed to build in later today into this tonight which could lead to heavier snow bands, with snow squalls and wind gusts exceeding 60 mph. If we are lucky we may get a thunderstorm in the lower or mid-elevations.

The European model increased its rain totals in the lower elevations, the other models are still very enthusiastic about heavy low-elevation rain and heavy high-elevation snow.

Here are the latest model runs showing the total liquid precipitation through Monday morning.




NOAA blended WPC

The bust potential for a snowfall forecast at or below 8,800 feet is huge. I am not going to attempt it, but it will be interesting to see how much some of the subdivisions around Purgatory end up with.

Most of the lower elevations and mid-elevations will get 1+ inches of rain with this warm storm. As usual, I am trying to be conservative with my snow forecast, there is the potential for much more snow than I am forecasting. The problem is that this is a very warm storm so most of the ratios will be 10-1 or less.

Purgatory’s official measurement site (as far as I know) is at 10,200 feet where I expect 14-20 inches.

Normally, SW flow is not the best ingredient for big snow in Telluride. However, the amount of moisture coming in with this system is overwhelming and I expect Telluride, despite the unfavorable flow,  could get 12-16 inches.

Normally, Wolf Creek has an advantage with cooler temperatures. I don’t think that will be as big of a factor as it normally is so I (only) expect 18-24 inches with this system.

By the way, It is starting to look like a similar, perhaps smaller, system will roll in after this one around Wednesday.

I will post updates and travel information I receive throughout the storm this weekend. Thanks for following and supporting the site!

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