Snow’s on the way — but it’s not coming to the Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Snow’s on the way — but it’s not coming to the Vail Valley

Strong, slow-moving storm tracking to the north, west of Colorado

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center is calling for an above-average chance of precipitation for the week of Oct. 1 — 7.
Special to the Daily
The forecast
  • Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 68. South wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the morning.
  • Tuesday night: Clear, with a low around 38. West wind 5 to 15 mph.
  • Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 75. West wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
  • Wednesday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 41.
  • Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 73.
  • Thursday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 40.
  • Friday: A slight chance of showers, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High near 64.
  • Friday night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38.
  • Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 70.
  • Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 39.
  • Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 70.
  • Source: The National Weather Service 

EAGLE COUNTY — There’s good news and bad news in the weather forecast for the next few days.

The good news is there’s sustained snowfall predicted for areas of the Mountain West. The bad news is that Colorado isn’t part of that forecast.

According to a Sept. 23 report from Joel Gratz, a founding meteorologist at OpenSnow.com, a strong storm is coming in through the Pacific Northwest. But that slow-moving storm looks like it will track to the north and west of Colorado.

There’s some good news in the forecast, through.

Scott Stearns, a meteorologist at the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service, said a low-pressure system currently in Arizona is expected to move to the north and east this week. That could put Colorado in line for a bit of precipitation at the end of this week.

In addition, Stearns said, there’s another system lining up to come through Colorado in the early part of next week. That system could bring some precipitation.

Forecasters tend to focus their efforts on what’s going on in the atmosphere and shy away from predictions more than about 10 days out.

That doesn’t keep people from trying, though.

Sam Collentine, who forecasts Colorado weather for OpenSnow, recently had a bit of fun with the long-range forecasts issued by the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Farmers’ Almanac.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which dates to 1792, is predicting “low temps and deep powder” for the Mountain West this winter.

The Farmers’ Almanac, founded in 1818, is calling for “frigid and snowy” conditions in Colorado.

Collentine noted on the website that those predictions are usually for entertainment purposes only, noting “there is no track record of accuracy” for either publication’s seasonal forecast.

In an email, Collentine wrote that forecasts outside of 10 days continue to have little to no accuracy and that weather watchers should pay attention to the 5-10 day forecast to get an idea of what’s coming.

But that doesn’t stop people from trying to provide at least some idea of what the coming weeks, or months, might have in store.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has maps that extend out months in the future. Those maps show forecasters’ best guesses of what the nation might see in terms of temperature and precipitation.

For the western half of Colorado, the center’s most recent estimates for the next three months show a chance of above-average temperatures with an above-average chance of precipitation.

Looking closer in, the outlook for Oct. 1 through Oct. 7 shows a chance of temperatures that could be warmer or cooler than normal in this part of Colorado. Much of the state has an above-average chance of precipitation during that period.

And we could use some rain or snow.

The Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins every week updates a map of drought conditions for the state.

For much of 2018, much of Colorado was in some form of drought, particularly the southern and southwestern parts of the state. After a snowy winter, there was a stretch of summer when none of Colorado was experiencing drought conditions.

A warm, dry summer changed that. The latest map shows much of western Colorado is at least “abnormally dry” or in a “moderate” drought.

That means we need rain, or snow, at least in the higher elevations.

Also, Nov. 15 is Vail Mountain’s opening day.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.