Hey Everyone! Hope you’ve been well and enjoying the bits of weather we’ve had recently. Where’s that damn sun to melt this snow?! Can’t complain too much, we’ve seen a lot of moisture this winter and that has helped us out of drought across the Denver metro area.
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There’s an incoming arctic front that will drop high temps into the single digits and overnight low below zero. I’ll talk about that first but if you’re interested, I’m going to briefly talk about this winter so far and how much snow we’ve seen compared to average and how the temperatures have compared as well. I’ll also give ya a look at the current drought status and improvements we’ve seen.
Wicked Cold 😉 : Round II
I’m not from Boston. But wicked is wicked. haha
It’s been a chilly month already, temps this January are running more than 4º colder than normal and the incoming cold just before months end will drop that even more.
A shallow, arctic area of high pressure will sag south from Canada through the high Plains impacting Colorado’s eastern Plains and I-25 corridor Saturday through Tuesday.
The first of two surges of arctic air will move through Saturday morning. Highs on Saturday will be felt in the morning. By the afternoon, temperatures across the metro will be in the teens will cloudy weather. From Saturday afternoon through Monday evening, there’s a chance for flurries and light snow. Although we’re looking at a potential 50-60 hours of light snow, amount will only add up to 2-4″ and that’s in the favored areas of the Foothills and Palmer Divide region. Denver may end up with 1-3″ total by Tuesday morning. So, not a huge snow maker.
BUT – with that said, it’ll feel like the arctic Sunday and Monday with highs in the single digits and teens with cloudy weather and frequent light snow/flurries. We don’t clear out till Tuesday and we don’t warm up to ‘normal’ temps until the end of the week. I’ll talk more about the impactful mountain snowstorm coming this weekend below.
Here’s Denver’s temperature forecast.
With temperatures like this, light to moderate winds will make it feel much worse. Dangerous windchills will be expected Saturday night through Tuesday morning. At it’s worst, windchills will feel like 15-25º below zero. That’ll be most likely on the far eastern Plains. For the I-25 corridor, windchill values will be in the 10-15º below zero range.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see more counties added to the windchill alerts. This is not going to be as deep of cold as we saw in December but it’ll be close. We could battle a couple of cold temp records but it wouldn’t be by much. Stay warm, everyone!
The northern mountains are expecting a full on winter storm this weekend. It’s actually already underway with light snow falling. Unfortunately, the San Juans will largely miss out on this storm. I-70 will be impacted and surrounding ski areas but it’ll be near Steamboat and the northern Front Range mountains that will really feel the impacts of this storm.
The snow will really get going overnight through Saturday morning. That means the weekend warriors are going to have a helluva drive Saturday morning getting to the slopes. Snowfall rates Saturday to Saturday night could be 1-2″ per hour at select times along I-70. 3″+ snowfall rates are expected along Rabbit Ears Pass. Travel is highly discouraged there this weekend. Up to 3 feet of snow may fall in the Park Range near Steamboat.
After this week, for both the mountains and the Plains, the weather will be slow to warm but it will turn sunnier and drier for at least a few days. As we start February, expect drier conditions through the 5th and then some stormier weather will return. It looks to stay on the cooler side of things for the first half of February.
Let’s Talk About The Past
So far this winter (which for meteorologists starts on December 1), temperatures – shockingly to some – have been within a degree of normal across the Urban Corridor.
It’s been colder on the Plains, especially the northeast Plains, but along I-25, it’s been relatively normal. Perhaps people just people don’t remember this type of weather because we’ve had warm winters lately.
In terms of snow, it depends on where you are regarding if you’re above or below normal for this winter. The NE Plains, ahead by 200%. The San Luis Valley, below by 25-50%. Denver, COS, Boulder and Ft. Collins are all sitting at about 100-125% of normal.
For this season as a whole, Denver has seen 35″ of snow. Typical through the end of January, Denver should receive 27.1″ We’re ahead by about 8″ and we have the snowiest months of our season ahead of us!
Let’s hope the storm train doesn’t turn off because it would be a big bummer if the season ended abruptly. What’s been slightly strange this season is not that amount of snow we’ve gotten but how much moisture we’ve gotten in these storms. Two storms delivered way above normal liquid to the Front Range over the two months.
Denver and the NE Plains have seen 150-200% of normal precipitation since December 1. That’s done wonders for our drought. In the map below, the colors denote the change in drought status and by how many classes.
Many areas have seen drought improve by one or classes. In other areas, the drought has worsened (the Sangre de Cristos).
Here’s the current drought status for Colorado.
Currently – Denver, Boulder, FoCo and most mountain locations are completely drought free! That’s amazing news. Those on the eastern Plains are still experiencing moderate to extreme drought which will hopefully turn better as the Spring moisture comes.
Something to note, drought grows on drought. We have an areas of drought over Nebraska, Kansas especially, Oklahoma and Texas that is concerning as we head into the hot summer months.
If areas of drought were to grow, it’d be surrounding those areas which leaves Colorado in a spot likely to be affected if that drought were to grow in size.
Locally though, most areas are doing okay. Let’s hope the wetness continues.
Here’s how snowpack is doing across the state.
We need some action in the Sangre’s and Wet mountains! Everywhere else is doing pretty good.
Enjoy the weather y’all!
See ya next time.