VAIL - With a cold, dry start to 2013, weather forecasts show a snowier pattern in sight for the Vail area beginning Thursday evening.
Between now and Thursday, however, weather models show blue skies. Scott Toepfer, of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, reports that a low pressure trough is moving into the Pacific Northwest, which "will elongate down the West Coast and split off a closed low." That system will have limited impacts on Colorado, Toepfer reported in his Saturday afternoon forecast.
Meteorologist and powder forecaster Joel Gratz, of www.opensnow.com, reports that weather models are now generally in agreement that the Monday system will split and miss Colorado, meaning the next major storm will arrive Thursday evening and last through Saturday morning.
"The best powder days of the next week should be Friday and Saturday morning," Gratz forecasted Saturday. "As the storm crosses Colorado, the flow will switch from southwest to northwest, and central and northern areas should see the best snow from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. Of course the timing could change a bit, but this looks pretty good right now."
Long-term weather model forecasts, which are less accurate, agree on a cold and snowy trough for the Rockies next weekend and into the middle of January, according to Gratz.
"What I do know is that both the American GFS and European model show a cold and snowy trough over the Rockies from Saturday through Monday (Jan. 14), and while this doesn't mean it'll snow that entire time, it does mean the pattern is favorable for cold air and off-and-on snow," Gratz reported. "Remember, it only takes a week or two of consistent snow for the slopes to ski very well, and I think this will happen through the middle of January."
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.