San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast (11,000′) ~ Thursday, December 15, 2016 @ 09:30

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These crazy warm air temperatures of the past few days are soon to end, but not before the approaching juicy Pacific storm system now moving into the Great Basin and entering western Colorado mountains early Friday will bring significant snow through mid-day Saturday. The system contains all dynamics necessary for a BIG storm — high water content, strong winds/jet support and moderate air temperatures which will bring rain/sleet to the lower elevations and copious snow to the colder/higher elevations. When the cold front impacts the San Juans by late Friday night/Saturday morning we’ll see the snow-line move down to lower elevations.

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The center of the storm is spinning in the lower-left of the infrared satellite image. The bright green and red colors closer to Colorado show high clouds, not necessarily heavy precipitation. OpenSnow

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Thursday night/Friday morning  heavy snow should fall in the southern mountains (5-10″) aided by warm temperatures and southwest wind then Friday another high precip event in the storm should bring another 5-10″ of snow to the San Juans with the freezing level about 9,000′.

Friday night through Saturday should be another period of good snow production with potential high precipitation event of several inches per hour that could close mountain passes in the San Juans and of course increasing avalanche hazard.  Favored locations above 11,000′ on WSW flow could see two feet of snow with the potential of even more… Cuidado!

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