Some parts of Garfield County receive 8 inches of snow |

Some parts of Garfield County receive 8 inches of snow

As winter progresses, weather experts’ snow forecasts for Garfield County show promise

Six-year-old Judah Lambe sleds down the hill at Sayre Park on Friday morning after an overnight storm left a layer of snow in the area.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Though an overnight snowstorm produced between 5-8 inches of snowfall in higher elevations near Carbondale through Friday, that’s still just a relative dusting compared to what the region usually sees by this time of year, according to one National Weather Service meteorologist.

“This is later than usual,” NWS Meteorologist Tom Renwick said. “But every year it changes. Certainly we had a period of warm weather and high pressure, and next week we could be looking at some heavier weather.”

Data offered by the Colorado Climate Center show more snow accumulation during this same time last year. Glenwood Springs alone saw 41.2 inches of snowfall in December 2020.

Glenwood Springs has so far just seen 11 total inches of snowfall between the beginning of the month and now.

“As far as the mountains, we can start really getting decent snow as early as October as far as the valley,” Renwick said of previous years. “Right around Thanksgiving is when Aspen and Eagle really start getting snow.”

Through Friday, Western Garfield County between Rifle and Parachute saw about 2 inches of snowfall, while lower elevations near Glenwood Springs saw about 3 inches of accumulated snowfall.

More snow could fall as soon as Wednesday, Renwick said.

“The only problem with this (storm system) is that it’s coming from the Southwest, so it could get warm,” he said. “The really heavy precipitation, if it occurs, is Wednesday night.”

Colorado State University Climatologist Peter Goble said La Nina, an oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon that develops in the Equatorial Pacific, is now in its second year. This periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures correlates with dry falls in Garfield County, but not so much in winter.

In other words, the Roaring Fork and Colorado valleys may start to experience lower-pressure storm systems more conducive to precipitation.

“Since December, we’ve turned a corner,” Goble said Friday. “The systems have a lot more staying power, and we could have a couple more decent storms in the next couple weeks before Christmas, so that’s good news.”

While Goble doesn’t anticipate Glenwood Springs hitting the 42-inch snowfall mark by the end December, he said wetter conditions should continue to produce more storms throughout the winter season in Garfield County.

“That’s what we’re seeing. I sure hope we can catch up,” he said. “We got off to a really rocky start this year for the snowpack. As a skier or snowboarder, that can mean a literal rocky start.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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