In one of the most productive bursts of winter weather since Christmas, Summit County is expected to see between 7 and 12 inches of new snow accumulation by tonight, according to the National Weather Service.
With two more storms in the forecast for next week, some weather watchers say the Colorado High Country could experience a return to the regular snow that delivered more than 20 inches in December.
"Long-range models show we are in a little bit better pattern," NWS meteorologist Jim Kalina said. "If we look further out it looks like we are in that pattern where we can get a little bit of snow every few days."
Summit County is situated on the back end of the current storm, which is centered over the high plains in the central United States. The moisture-heavy system brought heavy and consistent snowfall through the day Thursday and is expected to continue until tonight with an additional 3 inches of accumulation possible.
Forecasts call for sunny skies and warmer temperatures to return on Saturday and continue into Sunday, likely promising a warm and soft weekend on the slopes before the temperature dips and another winter storm moves in on Sunday night and into Monday.
Weather watchers describe the next system as weak, calling for 1-4 inches of new snow by Monday night.
Another system is on track to follow it Wednesday and into Thursday, but is still far enough out to keep meteorologists from calling accumulation, as it could favor southern and central Colorado over the Summit County area.
"(There is a) big storm Wednesday with likely powder for southern and central mountains and perhaps a great powder morning next Thursday for I-70 and the northern mountains," meteorologist and weather blogger Joel Gratz posted on OpenSnow.com Thursday.
Temperatures are expected to remain above zero even as storms cycle through the next week. Overnight lows will likely continue to fall into the single digits. High temperatures are expected to climb into the low 20s today, but get as much as 10 degrees warmer on Saturday, topping out in the high 30s. Forecasts call for highs in the upper 30s on Sunday as well, before temperatures dip back into the 20s with snow on Presidents Day Monday.
February's snowfall is already tracking ahead of a dry January's totals. Breckenridge got only about 6 inches of snow during the first month of the year, about 18 inches short of the 20-year average. But accumulations are already well ahead of that in the first two weeks of this month, with Breckenridge Ski Resort reporting 15 inches of new snow in the last week alone. Keystone reports show 8 inches of new snow in the last seven days and Copper Mountain has logged 11 inches of new snow so far this month. Arapahoe Basin reported 5 inches of new snow between Monday and Thursday.