Heavy snow fell across the mountains of northern Colorado January 5th through the 7th. Snowfall amounts varied from 1 to 2 feet over the mountains. Vail Pass was closed for a period of time during the storm and chain laws were in effect for several of the mountain passes. A few of the valleys also received heavy snow, especially in and around Steamboat Springs!
The snow actually fell from two seperate storms, one brought more dynamic energy to the region, resulting in an unstable atmosphere. This helped to generate the first round of heavy snow.
The second storm utilized a mechanism commonly referred to as "over-running". This pattern occurs when a cold dome of air is in place over an area and warm moist air flows over the top. This typically results in a stable pattern, but as the air gets forced up and over the mountains (i.e. the Park Range), or over a cold dome of air across the plains, it cools and condenses, leading to saturation and eventually precipitation.
The persistent snowfall overnight on the 6th lead to some impressive snowfall...the pictures below from a National Weather Service Spotter shows just how much fell!!!
Photo's Courtesy of Scott Holliday