The snow that wasn’t

Tomer’s Take:

  • Significant snow in Colorado appeared likely based on data a few days ago. Now, that possibility has vanished.
  • Why? It goes to what I talked about in my Winter Forecast: The North Pacific Heat Wave.
  • This warmer than normal ocean water tends to anchor a large dome of high pressure over the PNW/West Coast. This in turn affects the jet stream and eventually Colorado’s snow chances.

Current Setup

The West Coast high pressure ridge is significant running 2-3 standard deviations above the 20-year average. Water vapor satellite shows the pattern. Orange/red = drier air aloft.

Water vapor satellite 10/7/2022 5:45am.

Taos had some nice early season snow at higher elevations on 10/5-10/6. Taos could see additional light snow late 10/7 into early 10/8.

Taos Ski Valley 10/6/2022.

Colorado’s high peaks have seen a few light snowfalls. Fall color continues. I love this photo from Colorado photographer John Williams.

Colorado fall color 2022, John Williams.

Photographer Larry Pierce snapped this photo in the Flat Tops on 10/4.

Flat Tops, CO, Larry Pierce, 10/4/2022.

Silverton Mountain in Colorado continued a year tradition with early season skiing at high elevations on 10/2.

Silverton Mountain, CO, 10/2/2022.


The mid-atmosphere pressure pattern through 10/16 suggests the West Coast high pressure ridge maintains its dominance. This effectively limits snowfall in Colorado’s mountains to the light accumulation category. The Front Range of Colorado would stand a better chance at getting hit with fast moving cold fronts.

500mb pressure anomalies valid 10/16/2022, Euro interpretation.

Forecast total snowfall through 10/16. Only light snow accumulation in Colorado’s mountains.

Forecast total snowfall through 10/16, GFS interpretation.

4 thoughts on “The snow that wasn’t

  1. CW

    Figured this would happen early on. Think it will change rapidly though. Still think the early bird ski areas here in CO will open by end of Oct.. Lets hope.

    1. christomer Post author

      Thanks, CW. It’s mirroring last two Fall/Winter’s. Late start to Winter. Some resorts might open a couple runs before November but it’ll be challenging. Chris

  2. Barb K

    For non skiing photographers and gardeners what should we expect for precipitation overall? Another dry winter?

    1. christomer Post author

      Hi Barb – It’s mirroring last two Fall/Winter’s. Late start to Winter for most. In Denver, a warm and dry Fall. Winter will mirror last two Winter’s. Winter arrives in December. Chris

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