WeatherWeather Science


Disappointing Colorado snowpack to get a big boost late this week

Colorado Snowpack
Colorado Snow Report - 120721
Colorado Snow Report - 120721
Posted at 5:18 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 23:25:56-05

It's been a slow start to the snowy season from the Plains of Colorado to the Rocky Mountains.

Our winter snowpack is vital because it provides valuable water to rivers and reservoirs when it melts in the spring.

About 80% of the water that we use comes from snow that accumulates this time of the year.

Colorado Snowpack
Colorado Snowpack report, updated December 5, 2021

The latest report released on Sunday shows a statewide snowpack of just 51% of average.

The San Juan and Dolores Basins are the driest, but also suffering is the Upper Rio Grande, Gunnison and Arkansas River Basins.

Comparably speaking, the northern mountains have a slightly higher snowpack than southwestern parts of the state.

Colorado Snow Report - 120721
Colorado Snow Report -- 12/6-12/7/21

Since Sunday's report, a modest storm Monday night and Tuesday brought a little bit of moisture to the mountains.

Totals in the San Juans came in at around a half a foot.

Copper, Breckenridge and Vail all reported around 4" of snow.

Monarch saw around 2" of snow, and Leadville saw some freshies as well.

As we look ahead to the forecast, a much bigger storm late this week is expected to help with our disappointing snowpack.

Winter Storm Headlines
Winter Storm Headlines for our late week storm

Scattered snow showers Wednesday will give way to the potential for moderate to heavy snow by Thursday afternoon.

Snow in the mountains should taper off during the day on Friday, but not before plenty of pow pow falls.

As much as 1-3 feet of snow is expected for the San Juan Mountains, with around a 1-1.5 feet for the Continental Divide.

As for the Plains, confidence for measurable snowfall is growing, but amounts look to be pretty low.

The bigger question that remains is whether or not we'll see at least a tenth of an inch of snow at the airport. If we do, it'll finally mark our first accumulating snowfall of the season.

Stay tuned...