I have been watching mid-range models this week advertising a Pacific storm arriving in the Colorado mountains late Thursday and until late last night the forecasts favored the central/northern mountains and still do, but the latest model runs show the storm energy dipping a little further south. It looks decent for a possible 4-8″ of snow in the higher elevations above 11,000′ and probably rain/sleet/turning to snow early Friday morning for the lower north & west valleys of the San Juan.
GFS – US – 500mb – Loop
This Pacific trough that has been sliding down the west coast and now coming onshore will be on us very late Thursday/early Friday through Friday evening … Storm energy looks good with a combination of a cold front and a 140+ kt jet meeting over the mountains Friday with potential high precipitation rates. The west-southwest winds will probably be ugly occasionally but beneficial for orographic lift favoring snow production on WSW aspects of the higher terrain (above 11,000′) which could stack up, if it isn’t blown away.
The weekend and probably through Thanksgiving week will see a return of the warm/dry la Niña conditions.
Here is the University of Utah ensemble forecast showing multiple versions of the American GFS and Canadian models for Red Mountain Pass, in the southern mountains roughly between Telluride and Silverton. The forecast range is about 3-19 inches with an average of 10 inches. These numbers are trending higher compared to the forecast a few days ago.