By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Fall 2016 was a great lesson in patience for snow lovers across Colorado.

For weeks it seemed like the snow would never fly as unseasonably warm and dry weather gripped the region. Adding to the somber mood was the forecast for a La Niña winter, which is a weather pattern that can sometimes steer the main storm track away.

But as soon as the calendar flipped to December the weather pattern changed and nature’s snow machine came to life.

The following graph shows the snow water equivalent of Colorado’s snowpack (dark blue line) which was just over 2 inches at the beginning of December.

(credit: NRCS Colorado)

(credit: NRCS Colorado)

That number rose to over 6 inches in just three weeks. Every major river basin went from well below average to well above.


Colorado has roughly four months left in the snow accumulation season with March and April being very important as spring storm systems cross the Central Rockies.

As far as what could happen in the weeks ahead, the current 90-day outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center shows no clear trend, which means anything is possible.

Meteorologist Chris Spears writes about stories related to weather and climate in Colorado. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.