Forecasters see more rain, maybe sun, no white Christmas

Raindrops spot the face of the bronze sculpture “Freewheelin’,” by James Haire, at Fourth and Main streets Monday in unseasonably mild weather for Grand Junction. The National Weather Service predicts more rain this week and then sunshine and temperates in the 40s for Christmas.

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Dream on.

The wet weather that has doused the Grand Valley is expected to continue through Thursday.

A slight chance of snow is expected Wednesday night, but it probably won’t be enough accumulation for Santa to slide his sleigh across the Grand Valley in a winter wonderland, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“I really don’t give it much of a chance to have a white Christmas this year,” said Senior Meteorologist Chris Cuoco.

On the flip side, sunshine is expected in the Grand Valley, with a high temperature of 42 degrees, on Christmas Day.

While the top of Powderhorn Ski Resort is luxuriating in 16 inches of fresh powder, the resort’s bottom half is turning to mush as moisture in the past couple days failed to freeze, said Powderhorn’s spokeswoman, Sarah Allen.

Opening day is on standby as staff daily re-evaluate temperatures and snowfall, Allen said.

“I came to the mountain the last two days and it was 37 degrees,” she said. “Like five degrees is all we need.”

Snow-making operations have been put on hold as rain turns the snow to slush. However, freezing temperatures, followed by an expected deluge of snow in the mountains throughout the week, could make for prime skiing conditions.

New snow may bond to a wetter or frozen base, Allen said.

“This storm’s packing a punch as far as moisture is concerned,” she said. “This is Colorado, this is the Rockies, it will snow. We’ll get to ski. No matter how many days you get, it’s never enough. You always want more but we have to be patient.”

Despite the wet weather, the Grand Valley is still behind its average monthly precipitation. The valley recorded a trace amount of moisture in November, but in the past two days, has received 0.21 inch of precipitation. The average for this time of the month in December is 0.31 inch.

“It’s going to continue as it is,” Cuoco said of the wet weather for the next few days. “The bulk of the storm has not nearly passed.”


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