It’s been an interesting month for the Rockies, with good snow in areas like Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Utah, but lackluster accumulations in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Snow is only part of the story, however, as much of the last week temperatures have been at their coldest all season with many areas not warming to above 0 F during the day, and dipping to double-digit negative numbers overnight. While this cold air and the low January sun angle are working in concert to keep the snow intact, it’s still a bit hard to stomach skiing in below zero weather all day. Thankfully, more comfortable temperatures will return later this week and persist through at least the next seven to ten days.
As far as snow potential over the next 7-10 days, unfortunately it looks like this could be a dry stretch for all of the Rockies. A large ridge of high pressure will cover most of the western half of the US, and only the upper Midwest and east coast will see storms over the next week or more. Of course, skiing or riding in the sun with comfortable temperatures is fun, but we all want some fresh snow to break the streak of blue skis.
Looking far ahead in the longer-range weather forecasts, I do see a slight pattern shift starting around January 25, and this could mean a return to snowier weather at least for the northern half of the Rockies (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming—less certain about Utah and Colorado). But 10-plus day forecasts are filled with uncertainty, so let’s just keep this change in weather patterns as a possibility for now and check back in next week for an update.
Joel Gratz is a Meteorologist and the creator of OpenSnow.com.