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Storm to bring up to 10 inches of snow to ski areas

Storm clouds roll over Walter Byron Park in Frisco on Sunday, May 2.
Photo by Taylor Sienkiewicz / tsienkiewicz@summitdaily.com

The storm follows a record-breaking weekend of high temperatures

Summit County will see a decent amount of precipitation to start off the month of May before the weather warms to more seasonal norms later in the week.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Kari Bowen said the area would see some thunderstorms push through on Sunday, bringing rain until temperatures cool in the evening and the precipitation transitions to snow.

“We’re probably, for the Summit County area, going to see that snow continue through tomorrow, and then it will start to diminish (Monday) evening,” Bowen said on Sunday.



Over the course of Monday’s storm, Summit County’s high elevations could see as much as 10 inches of snow, Bowen said. She added that in-town totals will be lighter with 1-3 inches.

“It’s going to be pretty wet snow,” Bowen said. “We do have a winter storm warning out for those higher elevations.”



The winter storm warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday night for heavy snow. The National Weather Service’s warning states that “roads will likely become slick and hazardous,” and that travel may become very difficult. The National Weather Service recommends that individuals who must travel keep a flashlight and extra food and water in their vehicle in case of an emergency. Updated road conditions can be found at COTrip.org.

Open Snow Meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote in his Colorado update that precipitation Sunday night through Monday night would bring 3-6 inches of snow for most mountains, and he agreed with Bowen that up to 10 inches could accumulate in some areas.

“The best riding could be on Monday all day, Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning,” Gratz wrote in his blog. “Another storm could bring snow from May 9-11.”

Breckenridge Ski Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area are the only Summit County ski areas that remain open. Nearby Loveland Ski Area also remains open.

Bowen said there would be another chance for rain and snow showers in a quick-hitting storm Tuesday into early Wednesday. On Wednesday, there could be some light snow. Bowen said Summit County will dry up later in the week, bringing clear skies Thursday, Friday and potentially Saturday. She said there is a chance for another storm at some point over the weekend.

Temperatures will start out low this week on Monday, with a high of 40 degrees and an overnight low of 25 degrees. Things will warm up throughout the week, with a high of 51 degrees Tuesday and 63 degrees Thursday, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast for Frisco. Temperatures are expected to get up to 66 degrees by Friday. The normal high temperature for the beginning of May in Summit County is 52 degrees, based on 30-year averages.

While the week is starting out chilly, the weekend’s warm temperatures broke records with a high temperature of 68 degrees recorded at the Dillon weather station between Saturday morning and Sunday morning, the highest temperature ever recorded at the station for that date.

Area snowpack seems to have improved slightly toward the end of April. According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measurement sites, the snowpack level at Copper Mountain peaked at the beginning of April at 12.4 inches of snow-water equivalent — the amount of water held in the snowpack. The snow-water equivalent dropped down to 10.6 inches in mid-April, but it went back up to 12 inches on Friday, April 30. Currently, the snowpack at Copper Mountain is sitting at around 10.6 inches, and the snow-water equivalent is 72% of the 30-year median.

A map shows current snowpack conditions at Copper Mountain.
Map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture

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