Recent storm keeps local rivers above 30-year median; more snow expected this week |

Recent storm keeps local rivers above 30-year median; more snow expected this week

A guest enjoys the first turns of the season at Loveland Ski Area's opening day on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.
Joel Wexler/For the Summit Daily News

Thanks to recent snow storms in the mountains, the Blue River remains above the 30-year median, and the Colorado River headwaters have had the best start to the water year since the fall of 2019. 

According to data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Blue River currently has about 1.9 inches of snow-water equivalent — about half an inch above the median. Snow began to fall in Summit County on Thursday and continued into the weekend, bringing more inches of snow to ski areas and communities in the county. 

Over the weekend, OpenSnow reported that about 6 inches fell at Loveland Ski Area, and 5 inches was recorded for Copper Mountain Resort. About 4 inches fell at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and another 4 inches fell at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Just over 2 inches fell at Keystone Resort. 

“We were expecting most of the northern mountain snow to fall on Saturday night, though in real life most of the snow fell during the day on Saturday across the divide with the most snow on Saturday night around Steamboat,” Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist at OpenSnow, said. 

Across the headwaters, Natural Resources Conservation Service data shows that the Colorado River is at 129% of the 30-year median. Currently, that is better than the past two water years. Last year, snow water equivalent was at about 1.7 inches, and in 2020, the headwaters had a very slow start, totaling below 1 inch by the beginning of November. 

As for the rest of this week, the National Weather Service in Boulder is predicting some snowfall beginning Wednesday night going into Thursday. Meteorologist Frank Cooper said that the first half of the week will be dry and warmer.

“At this time, it looks like cooler but drier weather is progged for Friday and Saturday as a ridge of high pressure builds in from the west,” Cooper said. “The main concern at this time may be gusty northwest winds in the mountains and foothills.”

Gratz said an early look at accumulation potential for this week’s storm puts most mountains in the 5-10 inch range and that long-range forecasts currently are not showing another big snowstorm by the end of the month. 

“​​The longer-range forecast is mixed. All models show chances for lighter snow at various times during the range of Nov. 13-20, however, no forecast models show any stronger storms during this period,” Gratz said. “We could use another strong storm or two to really build our base by the middle to end of November, but I’m not seeing this scenario presented in any of the longer-range forecasts at the moment.”

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