DENVER, COLORADO – As Colorado residents and visitors are still reeling from the substantial snowfall that took place from Friday, February 2, through Sunday, February 4, the US National Weather Service in Grand Junction has announced the imminent arrival of another atmospheric river. This meteorological event is expected to usher in widespread precipitation across the state by Tuesday afternoon under relatively mild conditions.
The forecast calls for a mix of rain in many valley locations, with a transition to snow starting around elevations of 7,000 to 8,000 feet. This significant mountain snowfall accumulation is poised to create notable travel impacts and elevate the avalanche danger throughout the week.
This weekend saw snowfall totals ranging from 10 to over 30 inches in various parts of Colorado, according to Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist at Open Snow. The snow quality on Sunday morning was described as superb, with fresh fluff atop softer snow from the preceding 24 hours. Despite a brief dry spell expected for Sunday and Monday, a series of incoming storms from Tuesday night through the next weekend (February 6-11) is forecasted to deposit even more snow across the state.
Meteorologist Chris Tomer has provided a detailed analysis of the storm patterns, noting that the current storm cycle is expected to last through February 12, after which high pressure will build. The next storm system, fueled by a moderate to strong atmospheric river surge, began affecting California on February 4-5 before moving toward Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico with heavy snow accumulation expected between February 5-8.
Further small storm systems are anticipated to follow, contributing to continued snowfall across various regions, including significant accumulations in Telluride, Silverton, and Crested Butte.
Detailed Weather Forecast Insights
The National Weather Service’s long-term forecast highlights the atmospheric river’s impact, with high clouds streaming into the area from the south early Tuesday morning. The jet stream’s interaction with a long-wave trough off the West Coast is set to bring substantial moisture into California, which will then extend northeastward into Colorado. This system is expected to deliver feet of snow across the mountains, with potential for up to three feet in the San Juans and one to two feet in other high-elevation areas of eastern Utah and western Colorado. Valley areas are also bracing for snow, although fluctuating snow levels will affect the exact rain/snow delineation.
Safety Tips for the Coming Week
With an active weather pattern on the horizon, it’s crucial for Colorado residents and visitors to prepare accordingly:
- Stay Updated: Regularly check weather forecasts and road conditions, especially if you plan to travel.
- Emergency Kits: Ensure your vehicle is equipped with winter tires, chains, and an emergency kit. Carry extra food, water, and warm clothing.
- Avalanche Preparedness: If venturing into the backcountry, consult the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for the latest avalanche warnings and safety guidelines.
- Home Precautions: Remove snow from around your home to prevent ice buildup and check that heating systems are fully operational.
- Outdoor Safety: Dress warmly in layers, stay hydrated, and be ready for sudden weather changes. Observe all ski resort boundaries and heed posted signs.
As Colorado anticipates another round of winter weather, prudence and preparedness will be key to navigating the challenges posed by the upcoming storms.