Early Season Storm Pummels Colorado, Parts of Utah

We caught up with Mike Meyers, a science and operations officer at the National Weather Service, to find out where the snow from this early season storm is piling up and whether this means we’re in for a snowy winter.


It’s snowing. In parts of Colorado and eastern Utah, it’s snowing a lot. Start freaking out…OK, are you done yet? No? You’re convinced this early-season storm means we’re already on our way to crushing snow totals from last season and are considering trekking to Vegas in search of a way to bet on it? Allow Mike Meyers of the National Weather Service to calm you down.

What parts of the country got the most snow from this recent storm?

Especially on the Colorado Front Range, this is a really impressive storm. We’re getting reports of between one and three feet. Northeast Utah got hit with some of the bigger totals—up to two feet in some areas. They’re reporting up to 33 inches in the eastern Uinta Mountains. The Grand Mesa got hit hard; those areas have received upwards of 18-24 inches. The San Juans didn’t get hit as hard. Schofield Pass (near Crested Butte) got 12-16 inches. It’s not hitting every place, but it is fairly widespread. We had pretty good totals even in the lower elevations of western Colorado.

When was the last time there was a big storm early in the season like this?
The last one I can remember that was this widespread was 1997. We had a big snowfall event with high winds in the Gore and Park Ranges. That was one where Denver and the Front Range, from Pueblo to Cheyenne, Wyoming, got hit hard, too. The Steamboat region got a lot then.

Can we chalk all this up to El Niño?
I think it’s too early to make those generalities. We are going into a moderate El Niño, but it’s tough to make any correlations from one specific storm.

Seriously though, does an early storm like this mean it’s going to dump all winter? Please say yes.
Everybody has been asking that. It’s just one very big storm. I think it’s a reach to get any expectations for seasonal snowfall from it.

OK, fine. At least tell me when the next storm is coming?
It looks like the northern mountains of Colorado may see some snow Friday morning, not as heavy and as what we’ve seen—one to four inches, something in that area. Then more of a dry pattern will hit early next week. The next potential for a storm is in the later half of next week.