Skip to content

Weekly CBMR Forecast

Powder Skier

By Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

Weekly Forecast: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

After a good storm left us with seven inches last Thursday and Friday, another big snow is on the way, and it’s arriving in time for the weekend!

Before I get to that, enjoy some warm and mostly sunny days on Thursday and Friday, though you’ll notice some high clouds moving into the sky by later in the day on Friday. Temperatures will be running 5 - 15 degrees above average, with highs into the 30’s on both days and perhaps closer to 40 degrees by Friday afternoon. Below, a map shows temperatures running way above average for this time of year on Friday afternoon:

If I had to draw up an ideal snowstorm in terms of timing and powder, it’d probably look a lot like this one. If you’re driving up on Friday night, you won’t have any issues. Even if you trek up 285 on Saturday morning, you should be fine, with only the latest of weekend arrivals running into any snow on the drive to Crested Butte. 

The snow starts around midday Saturday ahead of a sharp cold front, with the heaviest of it coming overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. You won’t want to miss first chair on Sunday, when it should be snowing hard! 

Put me down for 5-10 inches of snow from this system, and it may end up higher than that if the snow can hold longer through Sunday night. The majority of it will fall Saturday night into Sunday morning. Another thing I’m tracking with this storm is the potential for some heavier bursts that could put our total closer to a foot of snow by late Sunday. That said, this storm is moving pretty quickly, so that’s why I’m going with 5-10 inches for our total by Monday morning.

For those of you driving in from the Front Range this weekend, your drive in looks fine on Friday night or on Saturday morning, but you will have to take it easy heading home, with snow set to impact most of your drive home on Sunday afternoon. If you leave a little later on Sunday night (say, 5 pm or later), or extend your stay until Monday by calling Crested Butte Vacations at 844-293-6586, those would be your best options to miss the snow on your drive back. 

High pressure and sunshine return to the forecast early next week, with a noticeable drop in temperatures by Monday before warmer weather returns Tuesday and Wednesday. The end of next week, however, looks interesting for potential snowfall once again.

Long Term

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the general trend is for more of a progressive weather pattern through the rest of the month and into February, which is good news for us! In general, when a big area of high pressure is off to our west, it acts as a bit of a wall for snow. The high forces all the snow to go up and over it, funneling away most snow chances, as shown below (notice the moisture in California, Montana and Idaho, moving up and over a high pressure dome over Colorado):

But without high pressure steering away storms, it allows those same systems, and all of the rich, Pacific moisture associated with them, to move into Crested Butte.

In general, if central and southern California is seeing rain or snow, that’s usually a good sign for us because that means the dome of high pressure isn’t there to block that moisture from reaching us.

With all of that said, that pattern should bring us another good snow late next week and into next weekend! Another storm should move into California mid-to-late next week and head our way a day or two later. I’ll have more details on this storm in next week’s blog. But for your entertainment, here’s a look at one computer model showing that storm late next week:

Long term signals show more snowfall into February as well, with that progressive pattern holding steady for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, enjoy the snow this weekend and #burythebutte!

- Meteorologist Chris Bianchi