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Early season snowpack situation good for Colorado

Colorado snowpack -- 11/9/22
Current Colorado snow depth
Snow Accumulation
Ski Area Snow
Waiting on Snow
Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 09, 2022

Take a trip to the mountains late this week or weekend, and you might be surprised to see how much snow is up there.

It's a stark contrast to the Plains right now, where hardly any flakes have fallen this season so far.

The reason why...La Nina.

The fact is that we're now entering our third consecutive La Nina season, and that's rare.

For Southern Colorado, it typically means below average snowfall.

In looking at the latest statewide snowpack report, most of the basins that we monitor are above average.

Colorado snowpack -- 11/9/22
Colorado snowpack — 11/9/22

Only two are below average, the North Platte and South Platte basins.

Although dry the past few days, that early season snowfall has our state's snowpack sitting at 146%. That's great news for this time of the year, especially heading into a La Nina winter.

Realizing that it's early in the season, it's also good news for our state's ski resorts. As of November 9th, six have opened up, with limited operations for now.

Looking at the current snow depth map, you can see a big contrast between the Wets, the Sangres and the San Juans.

Current Colorado snow depth
Current Colorado snow depth map, updated November 9, 2022

While the Wets hardly have any snow on the ground, the snow depth in the San Juans is up near 2 feet in some areas.

Forecast wise...First Alert 5 is tracking a quick moving storm that will bring snow back to the high country Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Although the forecast is only calling for a few inches of snow in most areas, snow totals in the Gore, Elk and Sawatch ranges could total 6-8".

Up in ski country, both Monarch and Vail are both expecting around 3-5" of new snow.

Ski Area Snow
Ski Area Snow Forecast — 11/9-11/10/22

Breckenridge, which opened earlier today for the season, could see another 1-3" of pow pow.

For the Plains, it has been a different story...

With snow not likely for the next 24 hours, we're still waiting for our first measurable snowfall of the season at both the Colorado Springs and Pueblo airports.

Both cities have now passed the date of the first average snowfall of the season, which isn't too surprising because of La Nina.

Waiting on Snow
First snowfall facts for the Colorado Springs and Pueblo airports

That said, last year we saw the latest first accumulation on record at the Colorado Springs Airport as we had to wait until December 31st for any snow to pile up.

We came close a few weeks ago, with some accumulation on the north side of town, but that only added up to a trace at the airport, and that doesn't count.

If you like the snow like I do, there's the potential for some light accumulations at the airport early next week, but will it deliver the goods? Stay tuned to find out!