Multiple bouts of snow forecast this week

A chairlift at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is pictured. A-Basin recorded 15 inches of new snow from Thursday, Feb. 4 to Saturday, Feb. 6.
Photo from Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Summit County saw the season’s first big dump of snow last week, and this week’s forecast promises more to come. However, accumulation forecasts are slightly lower for the two to three bouts of snow the area will experience over the course of the week. National Weather Service meteorologist Evan Direnzo said there is a slight chance of snow Sunday night, Feb. 7, with snow showers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“There should be patchy, blowing snow (Sunday) night,” Direnzo said. “(Monday) will be partly sunny and partly cloudy overnight.”

Direnzo said that accumulation would be less than an inch Sunday night. Late Tuesday through Wednesday will bring a bout of light snowfall, accumulating 1-3 inches of snow in town and 3-5 inches at higher elevations. Direnzo said there’s another chance of snow late Thursday through early Friday that could bring 1-3 inches at lower elevations and several more inches on higher terrain. However, it’s also possible that the storm doesn’t materialize and conditions are dry.

The Dillon weather station recorded 4 inches of new snow through Friday of last week, according to the National Weather Service almanac. However, ski areas recorded over a foot of snow during last week’s storm cycle. Copper Mountain Resort shared on social media that the storm cycle had brought the mountain 19 inches of snow. According to totals recorded via On The Snow, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area received 15 inches of snow last week, Breckenridge Ski Resort received 23 inches and Keystone Resort saw 16 inches of snow.

Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist of Open Snow, forecasts three rounds of snow this week and into next week. He wrote in his Copper Mountain weather update that the first round will be from Tuesday to Thursday, the second round will be Friday to Saturday, and the third round will be Sunday to Monday. Gratz added that each round could bring 3-6 inches of snow to the resort.

Warning motorists of typical winter conditions in the mountains, Direnzo said driving factors could include slick roads and reduced visibility during this week’s snowfall. However, he said traffic concerns are not as high as during last week’s storm. He added that winds should die down late Sunday and then intermittently pick back up throughout the week. The National Weather Service so far has only issued a high wind warning for Sunday.

“In the mountains if you have any kind of snowfall and any kind of wind it’s really easy to get blowing snow, especially with (Summit County) already having snow on the ground,” Direnzo said.

Temperatures through Wednesday are expected to steadily increase, according to the National Weather Service’s Frisco forecast, building from 30 degrees Sunday up to 37 on Tuesday and 36 on Wednesday. Overnight lows will remain in the teens. A low temperature of 14 degrees is forecast for Sunday night. Wednesday night’s low temperature forecast is 13 degrees.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s backcountry avalanche forecast for Vail and Summit County rates avalanche danger as high near and above tree line and considerable below tree line Sunday. On Monday, avalanche danger below, near and above tree line is rated as considerable.

Despite recent snowfall, the U.S. Drought Monitor map, which was released Thursday, Feb. 4, considers Summit County to still be in extreme and exceptional drought — the two highest categories on the monitor’s drought intensity scale. The southern half of the county continues to be rated as a D3, or exceptional drought, while the northern part of the county is rated D4, or extreme drought, which is the most severe drought category.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.