Colorado’s first big snow of the season is on the way, but not for Fort Collins


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Finally, it appears La Niña will deliver its first pretty significant snow for Colorado and right where we need it — in the mountains.

As for Fort Collins? Well, we could get our first snow surpassing an inch.

Yes, our snowfall has been very underwhelming this season. But Colorado’s weather has a history of being both underwhelming and overwhelming, so all is not lost — yet.

How bad is snowpack?

The Colorado Climate Center said Monday on Twitter that all the mountain SNOTEL stations in Colorado have below-average snowpack, with nine stations at record lows for early December, and 13 are at their second-lowest totals.

“There’s a LONG way to go in snow season, and the numbers will improve with storms this week, but still a very dry start,” the climate center, led by state climatologist Russ Schumacher, noted in the tweet.

Fort Collins has received 0.7 inches of snow so far this season, compared with a normal of 12.4 inches by this time of year. Boulder has received 0.7 inches of snow so far, compared with a normal of 21.1 inches. 

Denver has yet to receive measurable snow, smashing the previous record for latest first measurable snowfall of Nov. 21, 1934.

Snow is on the way for Colorado’s mountains

The National Weather Service in Boulder has issued a winter storm warning effective from 5 a.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. Friday for western Larimer County, eastern Jackson County and northern Grand County above 9,000 feet, including the Medicine Bow Range and Rocky Mountain National Park, and for much of the Western Slope.

Snow accumulation of 10 to 20 inches and winds gusting to 50 mph are possible. 

A winter storm watch has been issued just south of the warning area and includes the mountains from north of Grand Lake, through the Interstate 70 ski areas to Fairplay. 

“Not a drought buster but beneficial nonetheless,” the weather service in Boulder said on Twitter. 

The San Juan Mountains near Silverton could see 12 to 18 inches, and mountains north of Steamboat are forecast to see 8-12 inches.

Fort Collins is forecast to see an inch or two.

La Nina winters: How it affects out snowfall 

Reporter Miles Blumhardt looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at or on Twitter @MilesBlumhardt. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.