Until Thursday, Nederland and much of Colorado were “enjoying” a long stretch of warm and dry weather. I emphasize enjoying, because the stagnant weather pattern which brought us these conditions was starting to eat into the ski season. Coloradans take skiing seriously, and when weather messes with the opening days of local ski resorts … well it’s not funny.
Late last week, a storm system finally busted through the warm, dry ridge of high pressure which seemed to sit over the southern and central Rockies for the past few months. This signified a pattern change. Pattern change? Occasionally, the atmosphere gets stuck in a rut. When this happens, storms tend to track in the same places and cold and warm air masses don’t move much. Where there is precipitation, then tends to be plenty of it. And, where there is no precipitation, well things get dry. Nederland and the Front Range Foothills are officially in a drought, as are many parts of the country.
Finally, the weather pattern over Colorado and much of the country is unstuck and starting to change. Meteorologists sometimes refer to this as a progressive weather pattern, not because it is left-leaning, but because storms are frequently moving across the area. For weather in Nederland, this means an alternation between dry, mild periods and cold, snowy periods with storms affecting us every 4-7 days.
That nicely summarizes the weather over the next week through the Thanksgiving holiday. Sunday into early Monday will be the lull between last Thursday’s snowfall and another storm system setting its sites on northeast Colorado for Monday night and Tuesday morning. This next storm system will be another fast mover, but it will be tracking a little further to the south. At this time it also appears to have a good amount of energy associated with it. But what makes this forecast really challenging is the temperature. The next storm will start off warm in Nederland. Snow levels Monday evening will be around 9000 feet. Depending on which model you look at, they could drop to the plains by Tuesday morning. The big question is when will the rain change to snow in Nederland, and how much snow will fall. We’ll keep an eye on the temperature profiles for Monday night as well as how much upslope flow there will be. The potential does exist for several inches of snow for Tuesday morning’s commute with more along the Divide.