Mike's Blog Archive: January 2008

Thursday January 31, 2008 Skies are clear all across Colorado for a change, even in the mountains! The cold front that rolled through the state on Wednesday did bring another dose of 6-12 inches of snow for the mountains and a surprise shot of up to six inches of snow to parts of the Denver Metro area. The snow became much heavier than expected along the Front Range due to some very unstable air that formed as the front moved in. The snow fell at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour, along with some thunder, along a fairly narrow band from Boulder to Westminster to northwest Denver to Highlands Ranch. The snow in this area piled up to as much as six inches. Farther west and east, only an inch or two fell during the evening. This convective activity is much the same as a summer thunderstorm, one part of town will get heavy rain while another just has a brief shower. Of course, with snow, the evidence sticks around and it is pretty obvious that the forecast was wrong. Sorry about that, if you had an unexpected bonus of 4 or 5 inches of snow!

Today is quiet and clear statewide, with readings of 10 to 20 below zero in the mountains this morning. The skies will start to cloud up quickly in the high country as a new storm rolls in from the west. The jet stream will continue to focus on the mountains over the weekend, with snow likely in the high country about every other day right into early next week. The statewide snowpack average is now 130% of normal. In my 17 years in Colorado, that is the deepest overall snowpack that I can remember, with more on the way.

The next chance for snow in the metro area will hold off until next Monday, with dry and slightly milder weather expected over the weekend.

Wednesday January 30, 2008 Storms are really racing through the Rockies right now and today will be no exception. Another quick cold front is crossing the state, with more heavy mountain snow and a little light snow for the plains. Snow advisories are in effect through today for the mountains as 6 to 12 inches of snow will fall across most of the high country once again. Down on the plains, some light snow will develop late this afternoon and may drop a quick inch of snow into the evening.

With the latest round of wind and snow, the mountains are still in the midst of a pretty serious avalanche cycle. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center ( http://avalanche.state.co.us/ ) recommends that only very experienced and properly equipped people venture into the backcountry at this time. Please check their website for more details on this current situation. As for the ski resorts - they are in great shape! You can check out the latest conditions with our new mountain snow report page - it is a great resource for checking out the snow at your favorite area.

Tuesday January 29, 2008 The strong storm system that roared over the state on Monday produced 100 mph winds atop some of the mountain passes and dropped another 10 to 30 inches of snow in the high country. The new snow has continued to boost the snowpack in the mountains, with today's average snowpack at 128% of normal to date. In the eastern San Juans - around Wolf Creek Pass - the average is almost 180% of normal!

Lower elevations on the eastern plains only reported a few snow showers last night as the front moved through, but strong winds and much colder air did come with the front. The mild 50s and 60s of the past couple of days will now be replaced with chilly 30s for the rest of the week.

A new cold front will zip into the mountains tomorrow and bring more heavy snow. Another 10-16 inches of snow will likely fall in the mountains on Wednesday, along with strong west to northwest winds. Much of the backcountry areas are now under avalanche warnings and skiing in those areas is dangerous.

Monday January 28, 2008 An intense storm system continues to dump heavy snow and swirl 30-60 mph winds across the Colorado mountains. This storm roared into the high country Sunday afternoon and will remain strong through tonight. A cold front will slice through the region this afternoon, shifting the winds from southwest to north and usher in some chilly weather for the next few days. So far, snowfall from this storm system has been in the 12- to 18-inch range over the central and southwest mountains, with lighter amounts so far from Vail and Summit County northward. The northern areas will get heavier snow later today as the cold front pushes in from Wyoming. Avalanche warnings are now in effect for almost all of the Colorado mountains, backcountry travel is very hazardous.

Denver and the eastern plains have been on the warm side of this storm, with highs in the 60s on Sunday. Today will be in the mid 50s, with a strong south wind until later this afternoon when the cold front arrives. Almost all of the moisture with the storm will be caught up in the mountains, with only a little light snow possible this evening over the Front Range metro areas and the eastern plains. The winds will shift to the northwest and become quite strong tonight, with much colder weather expected by Tuesday.

The rest of the week will stay cool, with highs in the 30s and lows in the teens. There will be some light snow possible again over eastern Colorado on Wednesday, but no major snowfalls are expected this week east of the mountains. In the mountains, the big snow amounts will end after tonight, but periods of light snow to moderate snow will be possible for much of the week.

Sunday January 27, 2008 A powerful Pacific storm system is roaring into Colorado and will dump two to three feet of snow on the mountains during the next two days. A major surge of moisture is rapidly moving our way from the West Coast. The storm system is being guided into the Rockies by a strong jetstream, screaming overhead at nearly 150 mph. This jetstream wind will push the moisture against our mountains like a firehose, helping to drop very heavy snow later today and tonight, especially on west facing slopes of the San Juans, the Elk and West Elk Mountains, the Uncompahgre Plateau and the Grand Mesa. Blizzard warnings are in effect through Monday for much of the central and southwestern mountain areas and a winter storm warning is in force farther to the north to Steamboat.

In contrast, the southwest flow aloft has brought a taste of springtime to Denver and the eastern plains. Highs will hit the 50s to low 60s for Sunday and stay in the 50s on Monday. Eventually some colder air and a little rain and snow will reach the eastern plains, but the brunt of the storm will stay in the mountains. If you have travel plans into the Colorado High Country, do not be fooled by the dry and mild weather on the eastern plains, winter is hitting with full fury in the mountains! High avalanche danger, road closures and dangerous driving conditions will be the rule through early Tuesday. At the same time, some amazing skiing can be expected - just be careful and patient!

Thursday January 24, 2008 The Denver area and the eastern plains will be milder today, with highs reaching the low 40s this afternoon. In the high country, snow began falling early this morning over the San Juans and will slowly spread to the north during the day. A Winter Storm Warning is currently in effect for the southwest mountains for today and tonight, with up to a foot of snow expected around Telluride. The storm system is blowing into the state on a strong southwesterly jetstream. This type of flow pattern generally brings good snow to the mountains, but little if any moisture to the plains of eastern Colorado.

The peaks will intercept the powder, leaving just some high clouds and mild weather for the plains. By the time the clouds go up and over the mountains, most of the moisture has been wrung out of them, leaving lower elevations with just a mild, downsloping southwest wind. Temperatures in eastern Colorado will be warming into the 40s to low 50s over the weekend, with sunny to partly cloudy skies.

No stormy weather is in the offing for the major cities in eastern Colorado through the middle of next week. In the mountains, that west to southwest flow aloft will bring periods of light to moderate snow for the next several days. A nice combo - dry and mild in Denver, fresh snow for skiers!

Wednesday January 23, 2008 The Denver Metro area started the day under partly cloudy skies and cool, but quiet conditions. Temperatures dipped into the singles digits and teens overnight with a bright full moon. A weak cold front has slipped into eastern Colorado, bringing chilly north winds and some light snow flurries to the northeast plains. The I-25 Corridor will miss out on the snow, but temperatures will be slightly cooler today.

To the west, a new storm system is bringing rain and snow to the West Coast. This front will move into the mountains late tonight and bring snow to the high country for Thursday and Friday. This storm will set up to affect the mountains with up to a foot of snow in the next few days, but it will drop all of it's moisture over the mountains and have nothing left to give by the time it gets down onto the eastern plains. With this storm headings for the hills, our new mountain snow report page is a great resource for checking out conditions at your favorite area.

The Denver Metro area and the adjacent cities will warm up into the weekend, as we will have a gentle southwest wind and partly cloudy skies. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 40s over the weekend.

Tuesday January 22, 2008 The bitter cold air that has gripped eastern Colorado for the past two days will ease off to the east of us today as a warming trend gets in gear. The cold air mass was not very deep, only about 2,000 feet, so the mountains and foothills stayed a good 10-20 degrees warmer than the plains on Monday. Early morning low temperatures were around zero to 8 below on the eastern plains today, but as the cold air ebbs to the east, highs will top out in the 20s to near 30.

A weak cold front will slide down from the Dakotas tonight and will temporarily reinforce the cold air over the central plains and eastern Colorado on Wednesday. The temperatures will stay in the upper 20s to low 30s for highs tomorrow, but that will be the coldest we will see for a while.

By Thursday, a warmer flow of west winds will sweep across the region, boosting temperatures into the 40s. There are no major storms coming our way through the weekend. I will be watching a system coming onto the West Coast that could bring some snow into the state early next week. Although there is not a big powder dump in the short term for the ski resorts, our new mountain snow report page is a great resource for checking out conditions at your favorite area.

Monday January 21, 2008 After a relatively balmy 46 degrees on Sunday, an arctic cold front slid into the state from Wyoming last night and will keep us in the deep freeze for today. This is a very shallow mass of cold air, only a couple thousand feet thick, so the eastern plains will be stuck under a cold, grey blanket of clouds, flurries and fog, while the foothills and mountains will see some sunshine today. Temperatures will stay in the middle teens for highs over eastern Colorado, while it will actually be warmer in the foothills to the west as the mountains will block the coldest air from drifting back to the Continental Divide.

The main energy with the weather system is staying across Wyoming, only very light flurries will fall across the plains today, with a few inches of snow possible near the Wyoming border near Steamboat. This arctic airmass is broad, if not deep though and the icy air extends from eastern Colorado all the way to the Great Lakes, with temperatures in the single digits or below zero all the way east to the Ohio Valley.

The freeze will ease for Colorado starting Tuesday as the huge pool of arctic air begins to drift eastward. There will still be pockets of cold air Tuesday, but the majority of the state begins to warm up. There will not be any major storms coming into Colorado this week, with mostly sunny skies expected for Wednesday through Friday. By the weekend, we will be watching some storms developing on the West Coast that could bring more snow into the mountains.

Friday January 18, 2008 The parade of polar fronts is continuing for Colorado and much of the midwest. Another cold front will zip through the state today, ushering in the fresh batch of cold air and some snow. Clouds are thickening over the Front Range and light snow will develop this afternoon, with one to two inches possible by Midnight. Temperatures actually did try to rally a bit in the past 24 hours, as this mornings lows were generally at or above zero - except in the still frigid mountain valleys - Gunnison and Alamosa were again 15-25 below.

The skies will clear on Saturday and although it will start quite cold, we should see a moderation in temperature tomorrow. Highs may actually climb to around the freezing mark, but do not get too used to that! Another cold front will swing into the state on Sunday and this one may pack a little more attitude! Snow and much colder air will pour in from the north Sunday and Monday, with 2-4 inches of snow possible in the metro area late Sunday. By Monday, we will start at zero and only reach the mid teens, making for a very cold Martin Luther King day.

The temperatures will again moderate by the middle of next week, but we may not see the freezing mark again until next Thursday. In the mountains, the front on Sunday will start a new period of light to moderate daily snowfalls that should continue for several days. Our new mountain snow report page is a great resource for checking out conditions at your favorite area.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 The tally of temperatures early today was a study in negativity. Gunnison tumbled to 40 below zero, with Alamosa not far behind at minus 34. In the mountains, temperatures dropped to around 20 below zero, but gusty winds of 20-30 mph made it feel like 50 below over some of the mountain passes such as Monarch and Berthoud! If you are heading for the high country to ski, dress in your warmest clothing of the season over the next few days.

Heading up to the slopes? Don't forget to check out our brand new mountain snow report page on thedenverchannel.com. Here you can check out the latest snow reports. You can also click to see what the conditions currently look like from webcams.

As cold as it is, we actually have another cold front coming into Colorado tonight! A second surge of chilly air from Canada (eh!) will arrive tonight, bringing more wind, light snow for the mountains, and a reinforcing shot of cold air. After that, Saturday will warm ever so slightly, followed by yet another cold front on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 After a mild day with temperatures reaching the 50s in the Denver-Metro area a big change is on the way. An Arctic cold front is currently making its way through Northern Colorado. The front will drop temperatures from 50 degrees to highs only reaching into the mid to upper teens for tomorrow. We can also expect to see strong winds and snow across Northern Colorado beginning late tonight ending by mid day tomorrow. Expect higher amounts of snow south of Denver with accumulations between 3-6 inches along the Palmer Divide and southern Front Range foothills and accumulations of a trace to 3 inches on the Eastern Plains.

A strong northwest flow aloft will keep temperatures below average for the next couple days. A few storms are set to make there way through the state by the end of the week which could bring another shot of snow to Northeastern Colorado on Friday. A larger storm set to move in on Sunday night could bring one more shot of snow to the Denver area. This active weather pattern will continue for the next couple days with nicer weather to return by late next week.

Heading up to the slopes? Don't forget to check out our brand new mountain snow report page on thedenverchannel.com. Here you can check out the latest snow reports. You can also click to see what the conditions currently look like from webcams.

Monday, January 14, 2008 Temperatures will be mild today and Tuesday, but don't get used to it! Highs will climb into the mid to upper 40s today and into the 50s tomorrow, with sunny skies and light southerly winds. However, high in the dark, frozen plains of northern Canada, a surge of arctic air is gathering and getting ready to plunge southward! This polar blast will arrive here late on Tuesday and bring us a 30 to 40 degree drop in temperature for the middle of the week. The cold front will plow through the metro area by 7 PM on Tuesday, swinging the winds around to the north and driving temperatures down quickly. Snow should develop around 10 PM tomorrow and pile up 3 to 6 inches deep by Wednesday morning. Wednesday will be a very cold day, highs only in the teens, with occasional flurries.

The cold air will hold into Thursday as lows dip to about 5 below and then climb just into the 20s. The temperatures will slowly rally and climb back into the 30s through the weekend. I am watching a second, possibly even stronger surge of arctic air that might be on track to reach us early next week. So far, the winter of 2007-2008 has been quite a ride - heavy mountain snows, flooding on the West Coast, tornadoes in the Midwest and now the Arctic Express!

Friday, January 11, 2008 Another outbreak of tornadoes on Thursday brought our 2008 twister tally to 82 nationwide! That is an amazing number for so early in the year. Nineteen tornadoes were reported along a cold front from Tennessee to Alabama. There were several reports of injuries, but no fatalities as of this writing. Even more unusual, two tornadoes hit in the state of Washington! This season has featured a fairly strong La Nina event in the Pacific. La Nina is the opposite of it's more famous sibling - cool water in the Pacific Equatorial area, instead of warm. It may be that the strong northwesterly jet stream flow across the nation has been aided by La Nina and that has help fuel more early season tornadoes.

That same jet stream has been helping bring heavy snow into our mountains. Another 5 to 10 inches will fall today over the northern and central mountains, along with strong winds. Weekend skiing will be amazing. Be sure to check our new SKI REPORT feature at the top of the navigation bar.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 The winter storm that slammed California and Nevada before dumping several feet of snow in Colorado's mountains left a trail of destruction across the midwest on Monday with over 30 reported tornadoes. The outbreak of severe weather which also included a total of over 200 severe weather reports including the tornadoes, hail, and high winds was responsible for a confirmed EF-3 tornado in Kenosha, Wisconsin along with several killer tornadoes in Missouri later that night.

7News Storm Chaser Tony Laubach followed the event at the 24/7 Weather Center between snow reports from here in Denver. He says this is the first time he has seen an outbreak this early in the year. He remembers the 1999 tornado outbreak that occurred over a several day span in mid-to-late January mainly because of the tornado that destroyed over 200 structures in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. However, seeing tornadoes in the first week of January as far north as Wisconsin is very rare. In my time in Wisconsin, I certainly never remember hearing about tornadoes this early in the year in the Badger State.

The following day, more severe weather swept through the southeast. This is more common for this time of year. Unfortunately, one of the tornadoes reported in Arkansas lead to a fatality. This system is also responsible for heavy rain that has sent water over a dam in Indiana calling for the evacuation of several towns downstream. The storm system is expected to sweep off the coast by tomorrow with quieter weather over the US for at least a day before the next system moves in from the Rockies.

Sunday, January 6, 2008 A major winter storm is continuing to make itself known in the Colorado mountains today. This just days after the mountains in California and Nevada saw snowfall rates in excess of 6 inches per hour. Zone forecasts from the National Weather Service were indicating 4 to 5 feet of snow in a 12 hour period along with sustained winds over hurricane strength.

While Colorado won't see conditions as extreme, snowfall totals from this storm will be measured in feet as upwards of five feet may fall in the central and southern mountains when this storm clears out. The front range and plains will see a lighter precipitation event as this system will be more conducive to downsloping winds, keeping precip amounts on the light side.

As the system clears into the plains, severe weather is expected on Monday in Arkansas and Missouri. This comes very early in the year for this part of the country, but forecasts are indicating the possibility of severe weather, including the potential for a few tornadoes. Last year was not as early, but storm chasers documented one of the first plains tornadoes of the year in the Texas Panhandle in late February. While severe weather isn't completely uncommon this time of year in the southeast, it certainly seems out of character to be talking tornadoes this early in the year. But with a system as dynamic and strong as this one, it is possible.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 Happy New Year! After our 6th snowiest December on record and a windy New Year's Eve, a quiet weather pattern will take over for the first week of 2008.

A warming trend will send temperatures into the low 50s by the weekend with plenty of sun to melt away 2007's leftovers. However, we are watching for the potential for another storm moving in early next week that has the potential to be a decent storm for Colorado and the high plains along with the threat for severe weather in the southeastern plains of Texas and Oklahoma. We will keep you posted!

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