That was a fun little storm we just had move through. I-70 shut down for a bit around Vail Pass, Trail Ridge Road closed for the season during the storm, high winds blew dust all over the eastern Plains, and some snow accumulated around Monument and Larkspur on the Palmer Divide.
The approaching storm won’t be as dramatic, but we’re not starting from an as warm place so it won’t take much for it to get colder. But will there be upslope flow along the Front Range? It’s looking possible!
Denver’s official low Monday morning dropped to 31º making today the official first freeze for the Mile High City Although many within the proper metro did not get that low – it was more like 33-34º for downtown locations. Oddly enough, I had a late-blooming clematis flower pop this morning.
A lot of the Colorado high country saw between 2-8″ of snow making for a nice storm total with just enough to show up on data across the Plamer Divide in between Colorado Springs and Denver.
The few peeks of sunshine today spread light on a beautiful Elk Range covered in 4-8″ of snow. Many high mountains will show beautiful snow cover once the sun comes back out briefly Tuesday morning for them.
Alright, moving on. Well…first…today marks the 25th anniversary of the 1997 October winter storm! Many areas around Denver saw 15-30″ of snow. Monument saw 48″ of snow!
Okay, now onto the forecast.
The incoming storm has a trajectory from Idaho to Texas with a brief pass over Colorado. This type of pattern will drag cold air across the state and provide a brief moment of upslope flow for many along I-25 from Ft. Collins to Trinidad.
This will guarantee more light snow for the mountains. Likely advisory level for some. The question is if and how much upslope wind we can get with this system. The perfect location for a storm center to be is over SE Colorado. That gives the Denver area the best upslope flow. As a reminder, upslope flow is what gives the Front Range some of its biggest snowstorms of the season.
Two things to watch with the incoming storm for the Front Range. 1) location of storm 2) duration of upslope winds.
- When looking at multi-model guidance, the current storm location is a bit too far south and west to bring us decent upslope flow. If the track stays south and west, we may end up only seeing cold, breezy air and now moisture.
- Currently, all models are showing this storm moving quickly! That’s not good for snow lovers. Brief upslope winds mean not a lot of time for the snow to accumulate. If this storm slows (and ends up in a better location) we could have better chances of a bit of snow to measure up.
The National Blend of Models (NBM) shows the best snow map right now. I’ll dial this in Tuesday night /Wednesday morning.
This will be a better storm for the Central and Northern mountains as they could get 5-12″ of snow. For the valleys in this area, expect 1-4″ of snow. The San Juans and Sangre de Cristo mountains will get about 1-5″ of snow and those in the valleys and Urban Corridor might get an inch at best.
This is subject to change but the way it’s looking, this may be the first ‘accumulating snow for a lot of folks, albeit a weak showing.
Temperatures will obviously reflect snow. Across the state, some deep freezing weather is expected with single digits in the high country expected some mornings.
They’ll be a bit of a moderating trend as we head toward the weekend with normal temperatures and sunshine back again.
Halloween weekend is looking nice with our next possible storm coming in the few couple days of November.
Enjoy the weather!